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The Curfew Library, Democratizing Culture

The Curfew Library is a non-profit initiative established to transform a civil limitation into a collective strength. In response to the nightly prohibition on public gatherings, communications consultancy BridgEgypt launched a campaign to connect youth intellectually via a crowdsourced library.

“When conflict broke out in Cairo last August and a curfew was imposed on the country, we took a step back to think about opportunities for positive social action, because we believe that crises are also opportunities,” writes BridgEgypt’s Valentina Primo of the projects’ genesis. “Today, Egyptian youngsters need more than school: a more equal society also requires the democratization of culture, and that means equal access to books.”

Participants are invited to swap one old book for another, while donating a second to help build a library collection for underprivileged Egyptian youth. And though the curfew is finally over, book donations—over 500 so far, including 100 volumes from the AUC–keep arriving at BridgEgypt’s Cairo office.


For more info – The Curfew Library

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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