Creating a Mosaic of Literature

Liana Badr

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email:

Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation Lecture is given by Palestinian writer Liana Badr.

This is a live online event. Bookers will be sent a link in advance giving access and will be able to watch at any time for 48 hours after the start time*.

Attendees will be able to watch either an Arabic or English Language version of the lecture. This year’s Saif Ghobash Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation Lecture is given by the well-known Palestinian novelist, short story writer and film director, Liana Badr.

In her talk, Liana Badr describes how she grew up in the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Jerusalem, where welcoming strangers and visitors of whatever nationality or religion was an established tradition. The city was also home to a cultured elite, who celebrated the art of translation. She will talk about the diversity of writings, nationalities and people encountered in her early years in Jerusalem creating a rich mosaic, from which she learned valuable lessons about life and tolerance.

Liana Badr’s life changed when, at the age of 11, she read a translation of Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind, showing her the history of the American Civil War through powerful characters and events. Later after completing a degree in philosophy and psychology she began to study English literature. When her own writings were translated into other languages, she felt she was writing for a universal reader.

Liana Badr explains how war disrupted her personal life, making her family exiles in 1967, and denying her the opportunity of returning to her homeland for 27 years. Today, the road between Jerusalem, her family home, and Ramallah, where she now lives, is divided by a security barrier. By contrast, she observes that translators in the ancient world were regarded as symbols of peace and that, to this day, translations can still lead to tolerance, love and mutual understanding.

Liana Badr was born in 1950 in Jerusalem. She lived between Jericho and Jerusalem. Exiled from Jericho in 1967, she has lived in Amman, Beirut, Damascus and Tunis, and since 1994 in Ramallah. Her first novel, A Compass for the Sunflower, was published in 1979. She has since produced three more novels, the latest in 2016, The White Tent, plus short story collections, novellas, poetry, essays, non-fiction works and 12 children’s books. Her works have been translated into several languages, including English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian and Norwegian. Between 1999 and 2007 Liana also directed seven documentary films, which have received many international awards, and written several film scripts.

In association with The Banipal Trust for Arab Literature.

The British Library is a charity. Your support helps us open up a world of knowledge and inspiration for everyone. Donate today.


Name: Creating a Mosaic of Literature
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Free Event: £0.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546