(Egypt, 1966) studied at Mansura University and was co-founder and editor of the feminist magazine Bint al-Ard (Daughter of the Earth). She is one of Arab world's most acclaimed contemporary writers and a professor of Arabian literature in Canada. These Are Not Oranges, My Love (2008), is a selection of her English-language poems; her poetry has also been translated into other languages. In How to Mend: On motherhood and its ghosts (2016) she tells a new story of motherhood, switching between diary fragments, readings and photos in order to question old and new conceptions of motherhood and the unconditional love, guilt, personal goals and traditional expectations that come with it. These stories show that we are greater than our individual experiences, sorrows, worries and fears, and that they are hardly unique. She published Home, New Arabic Poems in 2020.(WN 2022)
Archive available for: Iman Mersal
Winternachten Festival, the Royal Conservatory of The Hague and Amare present: In the Dream House
The summer edition of Winternachten Festival concluded in high style in the concert hall of Amare with "In the Dream House." Writers, poets and artists brought their dream house to life in word, imagery and music. It was a program full of bright, warm and dark desires; of ancestors and wise women; of loss and pleasure. You were enchanted by hip-hop icon Sef, Winti priestess Marian Markelo, writers Raoul de Jong and Sanneke van Hassel, singer-songwriter Shishani, spoken-word artist Benzokarim, poet Iman Mersal, and singer Sterre Konijn. Drummers from the Royal Conservatory: guided by Pepe Garcia set the rhythm, and our dream hostess, theatre producer and stand-up philosopher Laura van Dolron ensured that you feel at home right away.
Bring along your home to our dream house
To properly shelter all these dreams, we asked the public as well as artists to share their idea of "home." You brought something with you that feels "like home" or with which you'd brighten your home: a plant, teacup, dishrag or mood lamp... We loved to hear the story behind your dream-house artifact! You could write to us ahead of time or tell us upon arrival; Sanneke van Hassel and Anouk Driessen recorded it and gave it a good spot in the room. In this way we created a living archive of our dream houses together, inspired by the novel In the Dream House by the U.S. writer Carmen Maria Machado. Also, you didn't go home empty-handed, because afterwards you took home someone else's object and story.
On 16 June 2022, the International Institute of Social Studies was once again host the International Storytelling Afternoon. During what has become a much-loved classic at Winternachten Festival, visitors, writers, students and teachers told each other stories.
For this edition, the stories focused around the theme Whose House Is This? Feel free to take "the house" as a metaphor and to explore it from different angles: the house of the family, the house of society, of democracy, of literature... The theme question Whose House is This? called for stories about feeling at home (or not), leaving your home, or finally finding it in an unexpected place.
Come and listen to stories from all over the world and, if you like, share your own story!
Maximum 5 minutes and in English only - no other rules.
On behalf of Winternachten Festival, authors Robin Block and Iman Mersal were present and share their stories too. Kees Biekart was the moderator of the afternoon. Lamin Kuyateh provided musical interludes.
Dystopia and poetry - with Iman Mersal, Athena Farrokhzad, Ronelda S. Kamfer (online) and Widad Broco
Dystopia: we know it primarily as an imaginary society with various grim features. A terrifying image of the future, and a rewarding starting point for literature, where speculative stories and science fiction have long since claimed their place. Who's Afraid of the Female Future? was not about "typical" dystopian genres, but dealt with the relationship between dystopia and poetry. Because is poetry not the ideal genre in which socially critical ideas and dreamworlds find their place?
For women, daily reality can already feel dystopian. A grand, glamorous science-fiction tale is not necessary for a personal dystopia; poetry is the genre in which female poets feel at home. In this event you met Egyptian-Canadian poet Iman Mersal, Swedish-Iranian poet Athena Farrokhzad and South African poet Ronelda S. Kamfer (online). What is the relationship of these poets with "dystopia"? How do they imagine the future in their poetry? And is "the house" still a safe space in their dystopian-poetic world?
An intimate event for poetry aficionados, with music by poet/performer Widad Broco, the first female rap artist of the Arabic world, also known for her part in the internationally successful electro-urban music group N3rdistan. Poet and programmer Nisrine Mbarki, who put together this event, defines "dystopia" in the following way: "I see dystopian images of the world as critical images, as alarm signals of what we humans fear. Dystopian images deserve attention and space because they represent a critical voice and can shake us awake. They are a form of commentary on our current society, which is based on the liberal and capitalist system of prosperity, and therefore also the exploitation of people and the earth. We had better listen closely to such commentary."