Born out of collaboration and friendship, Watadd is a research and creative writing network that explores the intersection of Western and Arabic poetic traditions, contemporary practice and performance to create new communities through poetry.
Watadd was co-founded by Dr Steve Wiley and Ammar Haj Ahmad in July 2015, and since then has organised readings and workshops in the UK and in Palestine. In October 2015 Watadd partnered with the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre (CPRC) at Birkbeck College, University of London to organise the London launch of Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine (New York: Or Books, 2015).
Now based at Birkbeck, Watadd is defined by its porosity, and by its wide range of participants who work within and outside of institutional structures. While not a membership organisation, since its inception Watadd has hosted events with poets, activists, artists, academics and playwrights, including Rafeef Ziadeh, Damian Gorman, Ahmed Masoud, Atef Alshaer, Julian Maynard Smith, Max Phillips, Sophia Brown, Stephen Watts, Ghazal Mosadeq, Alice Yousef and Abdullah Sarhan. Watadd has also run events with the P21 Gallery (London) and the Lajee Center (Aida Refugee Camp).
Co Founders, Watadd
Steve is a London based poet and academic, the author of Elegy (Veer Books, 2013) and Sea Fever (Knives Forks and Spoons, forthcoming 2016). He is Lecturer in Creative and Critical Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, where he is also the Co-Director of the Contemporary Poetics Research Centre. He has held creative writing residencies at the Palestine Writing Center in Birzeit (2013), and at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Tucson (2014). Poems from his ongoing poetry project Living In (supported in 2013 by an Artists’ International Development Award, a British Council and Arts Council England fund), have been published internationally, including in Extraordinary Rendition: (American) Writers on Palestine (Or Books, 2015). Twitter: @swilley17
Ammar is a Syrian actor, poet and filmmaker based in London. A graduate from the Higher Institute of Dramatic Arts in Damascus (2008), Ammar has featured in several films, TV series & plays in Syria. Cast by award winning theatre director, Tim Supple, for the 2011 international tour of “One Thousand And One Nights”, produced by Dash Arts and Luminato festival, Ammar played a leading role in Babel, produced by Wildworks and directed by Bill Mitchell. For the last three years Ammar has facilitated workshops at The Space Theatre (London), which have encompassed digital story telling, performing arts, play readings and improvisation. Twitter: @
Watadd (Palestine Team)
Lead Artistic Co-
Alice S. Yousef is a Palestinian emerging writer, poet and translator. She graduated from Warwick University with a Masters in Writing. She writes fiction and non-fiction but prefers poetry. In 2014, her poems were shortlisted for the Jane Martin Poetry Prize, Griton College-Cambridge. She is currently working towards a first collection of poetry. Alice facilitated creative writing trainings with the Palestine Writing Workshop and worked on literary translation with Tamer Institute for Community Education-Palestine. Her work can be found on several web-magazines including infita7 and VisualVerse. Twitter: @Aliceyousef.
Abdullah Sarhan is a freelance interpreter and a photographer. He graduated from al-Quds University with a degree in English language and literature, specialising in Book One of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and started working as a photographer in 2014. His recent work explores the relationship between photography and literature to reveal the ‘true essence of the Palestinian people’. Alongside his work with Watadd, Abdullah is committed to a range of other voluntary initiatives believing that free will has a key role to play a in social change. Some of his work can be found on Instagram.