Central to the vision of the Palestine Writing Workshop is a dedication to community. Constructing a space where creative performance and inspiration can flourish is key to sustaining a literary community. The Workshop will be located in a historic building in the village of Birzeit, and part of this space will feature the Reading Room. Like a library, the Reading Room will offer a comfortable environment with cozy furniture and wooden bookshelves where emerging writers can sit with a cup of tea and a book. By surrounding themselves with great literary works, the Reading Room will assist in the transfer of inspiration derived from the atmosphere of the room into their own work.
In order to fill the shelves of the Reading Room, the Workshop needs literary texts, particularly contemporary models for writing. In a country, or rather region of the world where piracy is the primary method of accessing written knowledge, and of which a core value of the Workshop challenges, we aim to respect and engage texts, and never use or buy photocopies of the originals. However, with little access to original books, this goal remains highly challenging. Thanks to the British Council and our partners in the States, who ship the texts to Palestine and deliver them to the Workshop, and thanks to publishers that wish to support our efforts and bring us access to literature and ideas that allow us to train and inspire writers—we are beginning to build our space.