The Palestine Festival of Literature is returning to Palestine's historic cities of Ramallah, Jerusalem, Haifa, Gaza, Bethlehem and Nablus for its 2016 edition, which will take place between May 21 and 26.
The ninth edition of the annual literary festival, which travels across Palestine to its audiences due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement, will be the biggest one yet, according to PalFest .
As with each edition of the festival, which is known in the literary world as one of the most unique literary events in the world, the events are all free, open to the public and contain a combination of Arabic and English with simultaneous translation.
The ninth edition of PalFest will take place in a number of historical venues including the Ottoman Court in Ramallah, the West Bank's first university, Betlehem University, and the Nablus Library, the West Bank's oldest and largest public library.
These events include politico-historical tours with the international participants, artists, authors and activists during the day, as well as public readings staged by the authors at night. Parallel events will also be running in Gaza City, which include film screenings, readings and workshops.
This year, PalFest is hosting an impressive lineup of international and local literary talents. It includes world-renowned authors such as South African Booker and Nobel prize-winning novelist J.M Coetzee, award-winning Irish novelist Colum McCann and award-winning American novelist Barry Lopez.
The Arab literary talents participating in the festival include prominent Palestinian poets Mahmoud Abu Areesheh, Ali Abu Ajamieh, Asmaa Azaizeh, Jehan Bseiso and Remi Kanazi, Iraqi novelist Haifa Zangana and Moroccan novelist Laila Lalami, who was a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
In addition, prominent Egyptian journalist and bestselling novelist Ahdaf Soueif, who is the founding chair of PalFest, will be attending as well.
PalFest was founded in 2008 with the mission of reaffirming what a prominent Palestinian literary theoretician phrased as "the power of culture over the culture of power."
The festival aims to counteract the cultural siege imposed on Palestinians by Israeli occupation and strengthen the cultural ties between Palestine and the rest of the world, as well as showcase and support cultural life in Palestine.
British novelist and previous PalFest participant China Miéville said the festival was "not only the most powerful and important literary festival it's ever been my privilege to attend, it's one of the most powerful and important things I've experienced, full stop."
The patrons of PalFest are prominent British writers John Berger and Philip Pullman and Academy Award-winning British screenwriter and actress Emma Thompson. They previously included the late literary giants Chinua Achebe, Mahmoud Darwish and Harold Pinter.