Jenny wins the Inaugural Warden’s Annual Public Engagement Award at Goldsmiths
‘Writing Mesopotamia’ is a collaboration between British poet Jenny Lewis and Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh that sprang from a shared passion for Mesopotamian literature, especially the Epic of Gilgamesh.
The partnership has led to a huge range of new creative work and activities with the public, including the adaptation of original poetry into a song that has been view over 50,000 times online.
With around 600 lines of poetry translated to and from Arabic, creative writing workshops, readings and a 1200 mile, five-city poetry tour, taking in schools over a 12–day period, Writing Mesopotamia continues to reach new people at a time when Iraq is in the public eye for very different reasons.
Responding to Jenny and Adnan’s collaboration, Waheda Al-Mikdadi of the Iraqi Cultural Centre said “Your joint efforts come at a critical time when the great heritage of Iraq is being attacked and destroyed…I think every Iraqi individual feels indebted to you.”
Innovative workshops have taken place at the British Museum where Daniel Ferguson, Head of Adult Programmes at the British Museum praised Writing Mesopotamian as “a new model of running workshops”.
In October 2015, Jenny and Adnan led a National Poetry Day reading at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford – ‘Poetry for Peace’. They are planning a Poetry for Peace competition, which for the first time will directly connect Oxfordshire schools with the local Muslim community and refugees.
This was also featured on Oxford University’s MSt in Creative Writing blog: http://blogs.conted.ox.ac.uk/mstcw/?p=1037