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Freedom Through Expression

The Palestine Writing Workshop is investing in the belief that under occupation, self-expression can be a powerful wellspring of change. Having started in Birzeit, it now fosters budding writers of all ages in Nablus, Gaza, Haifa, Al-Quds and Abu Deis through a plethora of activities including workshops, internships, and book clubs.

The PWW was born from the recognition of a great collective desire for creative opportunities: in 2009, when the Palestinian Literature Festival offered half a dozen classes through Birzeit University, demand for the sole creative writing class was triple that for any other.

Now, children as young as five can enter a weekly “Cave of Imagination”, designed to enrich young minds through presenting and eliciting oral and written stories. Intimate e-conferences with acclaimed writers, co-sponsored by the British Council, allow adult writers in Gaza to hone their craft, while regular “Poetry Nights” strengthen individual and collective voices.

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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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