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Kitchen of Diversity, News

Rijeka Connects Croatia and Egypt This Weekend

As part of the Kitchen of Diversity flagship of the European Capital of Culture project, a festival entitled Minority Literatures Revue was held at the Mini Art Cinema, which this year showcased the literature of Egypt. The event was organised by the Kulturtreger Association / Booksa Book Club from Zagreb.

The programme began with a literary talk with the Egyptian author Mansoura Ez-Eldin, which was moderated by Tea Tulić.

“Writing is my way of expressing myself and of understanding the world around me. Even though my writing touches upon the political situation in my country, and I have even been writing about the Egyptian revolution, I do not like being described as a political activist or feminist – I am first and foremost a writer,”

Ez-Eldin pointed out.

She added that we all live in a world full of walls and barriers, and that we need to start building bridges that will bring us closer together, and her view of writing as exactly that – as a bridge towards the people, towards the readers.

“I believe we are all very much alike, regardless of which part of the world we come from and I refuse to accept the idea that we should be looking at each other through the prism of Otherness,”

Ez Eldin said.

The Minority Literatures Revue is a literary festival showcasing the work of young generations of writers whose works have not yet been translated into Croatian and published in Croatia, but who are established, well-known and award-winning authors in their home countries.

“The Minority Literatures Revue showcases the so-called small languages and small literatures that are having a hard time finding their way to the global readers market, including the Croatian market, and this is one of the reasons why this programme fits in so well with our flagship,”

said Lela Vujanić, Head of the Kitchen of Diversity flagship of the European Capital of Culture project.

“The focus of the 2017 edition of the festival was the literature of the United States of Levant, while last year we dealt with the literature of the Maghreb countries. All these countries went through a variety of political upheavals and conflicts, both in modern times and historically. What connects them all to Rijeka is precisely this historical component given the fact that Rijeka has been governed by six different countries over the past 100 years or so. The Minority Literatures Revue has a great programme in store for you once again in 2020. We will be dealing with the Arabic Mediterranean viewed, of course, through the prism of literature, but also of activism,”

Vujanić explained.

As part of the festival taking place in Zagreb, Rijeka and Dubrovnik, we witnessed the publication of an anthology of contemporary Egyptian literature, entitled Our Trumpets Have Caused Silence. The selection of authors was done by Zeina G. Halabi, Assistant Professor at the Arabic Language and Literature department of the American University of Beirut.

The literary talk with Mansoura Ez-Eldin at the Mini Art Cinema was followed by a screening of Fallen Angels’ Paradise, a film selected by the film curator Ahmed Refaata.

The Minority Literature Revue – Egypt is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Zagreb – City Office for Culture, the Kultura Nova Foundation, the National Foundation for Civil Society Development, the Kitchen of Diversity flagship of Rijeka 2020 ECoC and the Creative Europe fund and is organised in cooperation with the Human Rights Film Festival, Art Kino Croatia in Rijeka, Lazareti – Creative Neighbourhood of Dubrovnik, the Živi Atelje Gallery, the Mijo Mirković Secondary School of Economics in Rijeka, the Antun Gustav Matoš Grammar School in Samobor, the Classical Gymnasium in Zagreb, the Dubrovnik Secondary School of Tourism and Hospitality and the Cultural Information Centre (KIC) in Zagreb.