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Independence Debate and Refugee Week Event in Edinburgh

We have a packed schedule this week, with the SWC’s Independence Debate at Glasgow’s CCA on Wednesday and a Refugee Week event at Pulp Fiction Books (The Edinburgh Writers’ Centre) on Edinburgh’s Bread Street.


Wednesday 19th June 2013; 7pm to 8.30pm,
CCA Theatre, Glasgow.

‘Unstated’ Independence Debate

UnstatedOver the past three decades, it is commonly argued, Scotland achieved “a form of cultural autonomy in the absence of its political equivalent” (Murray Pittock) – a transformation led by its novelists, poets, and dramatists. So just why is the debate over Scottish independence so much less passionate and imaginative than the contributions of Scottish writers?

Unstated: Writers On Scottish Independence (edited by Scott Hames, and published by Word Power Books in December 2012) sets the question of independence within the more radical horizons which inform the work of 27 writers based in Scotland (and opens a space in which the most difficult, most exciting prospects of statehood can be freely stated). Contributors to the book, Jenni Calder, Magi Gibson, and Ken MacLeod, will discuss the independence question and the role of writers in the debate (during the lead up to the referendum, in 2014).

Not all of these speakers are in favour of independence, so this promises to be a genuine debate staged from a politically objective standpoint. No matter your views, as a citizen of Scotland you have a stake in this public discussion on so vital an issue; whatever decision is yielded in 2014, we are obliged to ensure that it has been taken by an informed populace on a truly democratic basis.

As befits the topic, this event will be free, unticketed, and open to all.


Thursday 20th June 2013; 7pm to 8.30pm,
Pulp Fiction Writers Centre, 41-43 Bread St, Edinburgh, EH3 9AH

Refugee Week’ Event with Sue Reid Sexton and Iyad Hayatleh

Sexton Hussein Hayatleh

Sue Reid Sexton will read from her own work, and her collaborative projects with Iraqi writer Kusay Hussein (who fled to the UK in 2006). Kusay’s recorded experiences speak movingly of the bizarreness of war for those living in occupied territories, and of the universal suffering of displaced people.

Sue is a writer based in Glasgow, whose first novel – Mavis’s Shoe (about a young girl’s experience of bombing) – was published in March 2011. She has been writing short stories and poetry for a number of years, and took an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow in 2008. Prior to this, Sue was a counsellor and social worker, with a background in mental health, homelessness, and trauma. Sue ran a ‘Swapping Stories’ writing group for refugees in Glasgow, working with the Glasgow West Integration Network. Harbouring a particular interest in writers working in English as a second language, she has been collaborating with Kusay for four years. Sue is currently working on the sequel to Mavis’s Shoe. She has two children.

Kusay is a writer and civil engineer from Baghdad, Iraq. Resident in Scotland since 2006, and now a British citizen, he writes in English (collaboratively, with Sue). They have co-written several short stories and poems, and are currently working on no less than three novellas. Several of Kusay’s stories were published in Iraq before he left. His work with Sue has been published in a variety of journals including International Literary Quarterly and West Coast Line (Canada). Their very first story together was read by Sue at the Scottish Parliament in 2009.

(Please note that Kusay Hussein will be unable to attend this event, but that Palestinian/Glaswegian poet Iyad Hayatleh will be speaking in his place – reading from his poems and relating his own experiences of the tragedy of human displacement).

Iyad Hayatleh
was born and grew up in a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria, 1960. He started writing poetry early, and published his work in Arabic magazines (giving many readings in Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen). He has lived in Glasgow since 2000, and is now an active member of Scottish Pen and Artists in Exile: Glasgow. Iyad has taken part in many events and translation/poetry workshops, giving many readings in Glasgow, Inverness, Belfast, Wigtown, and at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He has published his poetry in magazines and collective pamphlets across Scotland; his first collection (Beyond All Measure) was  published by Survivor’s Press. Recently, Iyad co-led two poetry workshops in Glasgow and Inverness, sponsored by the Scottish Poetry Library and Oxfam. He is compiling a book of verse for publication later this summer, which will be released – in Arabic – in Damascus.

This event is free – unticketed and open to all.

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