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 Willey Morden Tower

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: @AmmarHajAhmad



Watadd (Palestine Team)

Palestine, Poetry, Watadd

Lead Artistic Co-ordinator (Watadd, Palestine)

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.


Palestine, Photography, Jalazone, WataddPhotographer and Artistic Coordinator (Watadd, Palestine)

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.


1 comment

  1. Dear Ammar, Steve, Alice and Abdullah,

    Asalaam alaikum and thank you for the amazing work you are doing. I am a Brighton-based British-Canadian writer, editor and lecturer, and heard about you from Sophia Brown, who I met through our mutual friend the late Bart Moore-Gilbert. I have been trying to get in touch with Sophia recently, but think that perhaps her email address has changed. Or perhaps I ended up in her Spam box! I was simply trying to forward a call for submissions that I hoped would solicit entries from Watadd members, and especially Alice. I’ve cut and paste the call below, and if you would like to email me, I can send you the Word documents in English and Arabic, and answer any questions you might have about the project.

    Thank you, and whatever transpires, I would like to promote what you are doing in the introduction to the anthology.

    Very best,
    Naomi Foyle

    C A L L F O R S U B M I S S I O N S

    Smokestack Books

    invites submissions for

    a bilingual anthology
    of Palestinian poetry in translation
    edited by Naomi Foyle
    forthcoming June 2017

    As Yet Untitled* will present up to five poems each by 10 to 12 Palestinian poets, representing a diverse range of voices, both new and established, representing the Occupied Territories, ’48 Palestinians, the diaspora and the refugee community. Some poets and translators will be invited to submit work; others will be selected through this open call.

    Guidelines for Submission

     Please email between three and ten poems and their translations in a Word document to N.Foyle@chi.ac.uk. The original poems may have been previously published in journals, other anthologies and single-authored collections. The translations may have been previously published in journals and anthologies, but not in translated collections. Bilingual poets are very welcome to submit their own translations of their poems.

     All modes of poetry are welcome, including performance poetry, traditional forms and experiments with form and voice. Please note that the editor is a non-Arabic speaker and the quality of the translations will form the ultimate basis of assessment.

     The Word document should include short biographies, highlights of previous publications, and the email contact details of both the poet and the translator.

     The total poetry submission (excluding biographies and publication highlights) should not exceed 20 pages.

     The deadline for submissions is midnight GMT Sept 30th 2016.

     The editor cannot undertake to comment on submissions unless the work is short-listed. The short-list will not be made public. The final selection will be made by Oct 31st 2016. The editorial process, including requested changes (at the translator’s discretion), will finish by Dec 31st 2016.

     All contributors will receive one copy each of the anthology from Smokestack Books, and a 40% discount on future copies. Under the terms of a Research Development Award granted to the editor, the project is being co-funded by the University of Chichester, enabling an honorarium of up to £50 (depending on number of poems) payable to each contributor on publication. In the event of a reprint, an additional fee will be paid in lieu of royalties.

     The publisher and editor also undertake to apply to other funding bodies to increase the payment to translators to professional rates, and cover the costs of launches in the UK and Palestine; and also to launch a crowd-sourcing campaign with the aim of ensuring payments to poets match those to translators. None of this additional funding is guaranteed, but most of it cannot be applied for until the final selection is made.

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