‘For Palestinian writers, we write for our lives,’ Samah Sabawi has written. ‘We write to exist.’
Sabawi is an award-winning playwright, author, essayist and poet. She’s also a policy advisor for Palestinian policy network Al-Shabaka, and the second featured speaker in our PEN Writing in Exile series.
Sabawi’s family left Palestine following Israel’s occupation of the Gaza Strip when she was a baby in 1967. She’s lived and worked across the globe throughout her life, but retains strong ties to the place of her birth. In Australia, she’s perhaps best known for her play, Tales of a City by the Sea, which won two Drama Victoria awards in 2016 and has also been rapturously received by audiences in Palestine, Canada and Malaysia. In the same year, the prolific Sabawi contributed to the anthology I Remember My Name, which received Middle East Monitor’s 2016 Palestine Book Award. Her most recent play, THEM, premieres later in May 2019 at the La Mama Courthouse.
Sabawi’s writing is concerned with displacement, conflict and diaspora. ‘Through writing our stories, our poems and songs,’ she has written, ‘we reconstruct our erased past, assert our present and try to shape our future.’ She’ll discuss writing for her life on Thursday 6 June with Sami Shah.
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne.
Dr Samah Sabawi is an award-winning playwright. In 2020 she received a Green Room Award for best writing for her play THEM, also nominated for Best Independent Theatre Ensemble, Best Independent Production and Best Direction, and shortlisted for both the Victorian Premier Literary Awards and the Nic... Read more
Sami Shah is a multi-award winning comedian, writer, journalist and broadcaster. Sami’s comedy has won the Best Local Act at the 2013 Perth International Comedy Festival, and Best Comedy at 2016 Fringe World. He’s performed multiple sold-out runs at comedy festivals across Australia, as well... Read more
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