Photo by Shiyam Galyon, 2019. RAWI members sit in an auditorium clapping and smiling while watching a performance.

Mizna+RAWIFest Final Schedule

RAWI Board, 2023-10-25

The final program for Mizna+RAWIFest 2023 is here! The conference will consist of readings, panels, workshops, roundtables, and celebrations of both emerging and established SWANA creatives.

(Photo credit: Shiyam Galyon, 2019.)

Black text on white background reads: Mizna + RAWIFest 2023. Thursday 10/26 - Saturday 10/28. Location withheld for safety. Thursday 10/26, in-person. Opening reception. Opening Remarks from Mizna + RAWI featuring a keynote from Hala Alyan & hors d’oeuvres from Baba’s! Friday 10/27, virtual. Kusbarra Collective Workshop, 8 AM - 9:30 AM CT. Join us for a workshop on language & playfulness with Mariam Boctor & Nour Kamel. Widening the Circle: Queer and Trans SWANA Writers on Solidarity and Self. 10:30 AM - 12 PM CT. Featuring Mahru Elahi, Nancy Agabian, Bobuq Sayed, Tracy Fuad, & Pinar Banu Yaşar. SWANA Creative Non-Fiction Panel, 2 PM - 3:15 PM CT. Featuring Abdelrahman ElGendy, Maha Ahmed, Key K. Bird, and Sarah Aziza. Friday 10/27, in-person + hybrid. Sumud Motifs: A woven inheritance of visual and literary storytelling, 9 AM - 10:!5 AM CT. Featuring Doris Bittar, Kassandra L. Khalil, Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Marguerite Dabaie, & Micaela Kaibni Raen. Women, Life, Freedom: Iranian writers reading and in conversation, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM CT. Featuring Yasmine Ameli, Farnaz Fatemi, Persis Karim, Saba Keramati, & Leila Mansouri. Trans Arab Methodologies and Aesthetics, 1 PM - 2:15 PM CT. Featuring Trish Salah, Amir Rabiyah, Zeyn Joukhadar, Joe Kadi, & Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán. Poetry Reading, 3 PM - 4 PM CT. Featuring Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Andrea Abi-Karam, & Aliah Lavonne Tigh. A Book is a Way to Solve a Problem, 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM CT. A workshop with Jenna Hamed, Nour Arafat, & Kamelya Omayma Youssef. Evening Poetry + Film Event with New Third World & Mizna, 7 PM CT. Featuring Danez Smith, Noor Hindi, Saba Keramati, Hala Alyan, Elina Katrin, & Tarik Dobbs, followed by a film screening by Aram Kavoossi. Saturday, 10/28, virtual. Virtual Reading, 9 AM - 10:15 AM CT. Featuring Yasmine Ameli, Aiya Sakr, Nabra Nelson, Ojo Taiye, & Rawya Chab. Third World Poetics Panel, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM CT. Featuring Malvika Jolly, Haider Shahbaz, Yasmina Martin, & more! 1+ Generation SWANA Writers on Writing "Home", 2 PM - 3:15 PM CT. Featuring Sarah Cypher, Zaina Arafat, Eman Quotah, Leila Chatti, & Marim Abbas. Saturday 10/28, in-person and hybrid. The Arabic Letterpress Workshop, 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM CT. Join us for a talk + workshop on the Arabic letterpress with Aya Krisht & Andrea Shaker. Palestine as a Craft Question, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM CT. Featuring Priscilla Wathington, George Abraham, Deema Shehabi, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Noor Hindi, & Fargo Nissim Tbakhi. Mizna Writing Collective Reading, 1 PM - 2 PM CT. Featuring Yara Omer, Wiliam Nour, & Michelle Zamanian. Poetry and Fiction Reading, 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM CT. Featuring Angie Mazakis, Bayan Founas, Pauline Kaldas, & Atiaf. Open Mic, 3:30 PM - 4:45 PM CT. Body Watani Performance, 5 PM - 6 PM CT. Featuring Leila Awadallah & Noelle Awadallah. Closing Reception and Gathering, 6:30 PM CT.

Mizna + RAWIFest 2023 Program. Full image description in alt text.


What is Mizna+RAWIFest?

RAWIFest, co-hosted by Mizna, is a biannual conference that has been held for three decades and running, bringing together Arab and SWANA creatives as well as non-SWANA allies–not only poets, prose writers, and playwrights, but visual artists, performance artists, musicians, educators and scholars–both in diaspora in North America as well as from other regions. RAWI especially invites Black, Indigenous, and other people of color interested in our programming to apply.

At Mizna+RAWIFest, we aim to create a space where we can talk amongst ourselves and highlight voices and people threatened by erasure. The conference consists of readings, panels, workshops, roundtables, and celebrations of both emerging and established SWANA creatives. In a global climate where opportunities for Arab and SWANA creatives to share our experiences and insights is limited, RAWI’s biennial gathering provides a rare opportunity to bring a large number of Arab American and SWANA writers, artists, and scholars (and their readers, allies, and admirers) into the same inclusive and welcoming space so we can engage in various dialogues otherwise unavailable to us.

What if I’m not located in North America/Turtle Island?

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and in the spirit of openness, accessibility, safety and inclusion of our chronically ill, disabled, and geographically diverse community members, this year’s conference will be a fully hybrid gathering. We aim to make every single event available to virtual participants, and all in-person events will be livestreamed.

How accessible will Mizna+RAWIFest be?

The conference space will have two designated accessible parking spots in the rear of the building and one close to the front door. Both front and back doors will have push-button access to open. The building also has an elevator and gender-neutral restrooms on each floor. (More info will be sent to attendees via email; please get in touch with us as soon as possible if you have additional accessibility requests or questions not addressed here.)

What language(s) will the conference be held in?

Panels and events will be presented predominantly in English, but RAWI is a multilingual community, and many other languages may be spoken during the conference. We also wish to welcome presenters and attendees who may speak another language as a first language / mother tongue, and we value the work that many of our members do to trouble the hegemony of the English language as well as other colonial languages with which our personal, communal, and historical relationships may be complex and, at times, fraught. We hope to have funding in the future for Arabic-language interpreters as well as ASL interpreters, but unfortunately cannot provide these services at this time.

In-person attendees will be required to mask. We are asking for all attendees to mask up during inside activities for the safety of everyone in our communities, using high quality masks (N95 or KN95). If you are feeling sick or have any symptoms, please stay home and attend the festival virtually. Looking at recent statistics, it seems the most effective + cost efficient risk mitigation is to wear high quality masks, as testing often does not account for asympt omatic cases. We will have some masks available at the conference. We also highly recommend getting COVID boosters before traveling out, if possible.

What artistic disciplines are welcomed for programming at RAWIFest?

The festival will center and uplift the intersections of literary and performance arts. We welcome applicants from a broad range of artistic disciplines, including but not limited to: poetry, spoken word, fiction, memoir, essay, oral storytelling, individual performance art, theater, music, dance, and various intersections thereof.

What organizations fund RAWIFest?

RAWIFest 2021 is supported by generous financial and logistical contributions from Mizna, our co-host, with the aim of engaging a wider range of performance and literary artistic traditions with lineage of the Southwest Asian and/or North African regions.

Can I apply as part of a proposed panel or with an institution?

Panelists will be grouped according to common interests, disciplines, and artistic or scholarly areas and will then work collaboratively to formulate a panel around a shared topic. Proposals for pre-designed panels will also be considered.

Can I change my registration from in-person to virtual if I no longer feel safe to attend in person, and if so when is the latest I can make that change?

Attendees registered to attend in person will have up until two months prior to the conference to change their registration type (virtual vs in person) if their plans change.

What is the in-person capacity for the space?

In person attendance will have a hard cap of 100 people due to the capacity of the space and to stick to COVID safety protocols for our attendees. We want to keep folks safe!

Will all programming also be available to virtual attendees?

Yes! All programming will also be broadcast virtually. Panels can have a combination of in-person and virtual participants, as all panels will be conducted virtually.

Can I attend from outside of the United States/North America?

Yes! You can either opt to travel to the conference in person or attend virtually. We will do our best to accommodate a range of time zones in our programming.

Can non-Arabs attend? Who is welcome at the conference?

While we are the Radius of Arab American Writers, we want to make space for non-Arabs with regional and/or historical proximity to the Southwest Asian and North African regions, especially marginalized religious and ethnic groups therein. Furthermore, we want to make space for non-American/North America-based voices, made possible by our hybrid virtual programming. All applicants who fit in with our organizational vision of anti-racist, anti-zionist, transfeminist, and anti-patriarchal politics are welcome. RAWI especially encourages Black, Indigenous, and other people of color interested in our programming to apply.

What genres / fields is the conference open to? Is it open to scholars or only artists?

We welcome applicants from a broad range of artistic disciplines, including but not limited to: poetry, spoken word, fiction, memoir, essay, oral storytelling, individual performance art, theater, music, dance, and various intersections thereof.

How can I keep in touch with people I meet after the conference?

We’re glad you asked! RAWI members can keep in touch on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) as well as by making a profile in the new Members Only section of our website. There, folks can view each other’s profiles and connect, as well as view resources only available to members.