In 2010 the Saladin days presented the world premiere of the stage play Desert Storms, written by Tariq Ali and Thorvald Steen. The program also featured the writers Hanan al-Skaykh and Mustafa Can.
... is a Swedish journalist and writer, who immigrated to Sweden from Turkish Kurdistan at the age of six. His first novel, Tätt intill dagarna: berättelsen om min mor (t: Close to the days: the story of my mother), was published in 2006.
... is a Lebanese writer of contemporary literature. Many of her books focus on the situation of Arab women i patriarchal societies, such as The Story of Zahra (1980) and Women of Sand and Myrrh (1989). Her book The Locust and the Bird: My Mother's Story (translated into English in 2009), tells the story of how her mother ran away from husband and children to choose love.
... is among Norway's most internationally oriented writers, having written about historical figures such as Saladin and Snorre, as well as contemporary literature, children's books, essays and plays. A former head of the Norwegian Writer's Union and Norwegian PEN board member, Steen has been translated into 20 languages.
... is an international author, historian and political activist. He has written more than 30 books of non-fiction, fiction and history, and is a popular lecturer. He was one of the organisers of the big demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, and has been celebrated in song by the Rolling Stones.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3RD
5 PM - The Perils of Islamophobia
Saladin lecture 2010 by Tariq Ali
7 PM - Women's lives in the Middle East
Authors' meeting between Hanan al-Shaykh and Mustafa Can
With the book Tett inntil dagene (t: Close to the days) journalist Mustafa Can was inscribed into the hearts of a large audience. Painting a close portrait of his own mother, Can's book tells the story of a woman, starting her life in a poor rural district in Turkish Kurdistan, and ending up in the modern Sweden of which she never truly became a part. Nevertheless, she was solid as a rock in the lives of her children. The writer Hanan al-Shaykh was encouraged by her own mother to write her unusual story, and the novel The Locust and the Bird was the result. After getting married off as a child bride in 1950s Lebanon, Kamila choose freedom, running away from husband and children to follow love. Salman Rushdie, Marjane Satrapi and J.M. Coetzee have all praised this remarkable book now available in Norwegian. See both writers in conversation with journalist and former TV presenter Marte Spurkland.
THURSDAY, MARCH 4TH
5 PM - Go and take Jerusalem!
Stage conversation between playwrights Tariq Ali and Thorvald Steen
Writers Thorvald Steen and Tariq Ali started their cooperation after the Wergeland Conference Poet and Activist at the House of Literature in 2008. Both having previously written fiction about the historical figure Saladin, together, they set out to dramatize the meeting between East and West in the time of Crusades, personified by the Sultan Saladin and the British King, Richard the Lionheart. On the eve of the original performance, they will elaborate on the origin of the play Desert Storms.
FRIDAY, MARCH 5TH
7 PM - Desert Storms
The House of Literature's performance about Saladin
A play by Thorvald Steen and Tariq Ali. With Bjørn Sundquist (Saladin) og Christian Skolmen (Richard Løvehjerte), Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen, Pia Tjelta, Monna Tandberg, Stein Grønli. Direction: Stein Winge.
– Go and take Jerusalem! Thus begins Thorvald Steen and Tariq Ali's play about the struggle between the Crusader Richard the Lionheart and Saladin, Arabic Sultan. It is a meeting between cultures with striking parallels to today's war on terror, to the fight for Jerusalem and Palestine, and to the issue of faith. First and foremost, however, it is a play about people being torn between fundamentalist faith and human doubt. Desert Storms was commissioned by the House of Literature, and written by the Norwegian author Thorvald Steen and the British Pakistani historian and writer Tariq Ali. With their different backgrounds from Christian and Islamic culture, the two are uniquely qualified to render the differences in the mindsets of the two cultures.
Desert Storms is produced by the House of Literature in cooperation with the Norwegian National Theatre and the touring theatre Riksteatret, with financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The program is developed with supprt from the Norwegian Peacebuilding Resource Centre and Oslo World Music Festival, and with financial support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.