SHAEIRAT Poetry Tour

Soukaina Habiballah performing one of her pieces

Soukaina Habiballah and Mouna Ouafik will commence their first ever poetry tour across the country in March 2024 with support from Highlight Arts. This is taking place in partnership with Creative Scotland, The National Lottery, and SHAEIRAT. The tour aims to give voice to marginalised female writers from the Middle East and North Africa.

The poets will perform in St. Andrews at StAnza – Scotland’s International Poetry Festival – on the 9th and 10th March. Soukaina will be performing Nini ya Momo, exploring maternal ties, colonialism, and post-partum depression. Mouna will be reciting From the Female Chimpanzee to Darwin, controversially examining her relationship to religion, family, sex, and love.

StAnza’s Artistic Director and Highlight Arts Trustee, Ryan Van Winkle, says: “Their work promises to be thought-provoking and illuminating, exploring themes that resonate with universal experiences while shedding light on the unique challenges faced by female writers from the Middle East and North Africa.”

Soukaina is an award-winning writer and filmmaker, and has authored four collections of poetry, a novel, and a collection of short stories. Mouna is currently completing an autobiographical collection. Glasgow-based Yemeni filmmaker and poet, Sawsan Al Areeqe, will also be joining them on the tour and developing a film in response to their work. She has published three collections of poetry and recently completed a fourth.

They will also foster connections with women, refugees, and asylum seekers from the diaspora during the tour by facilitating creative writing workshops – exploring the concept of roots, identity, and language – in collaboration with the Scottish Refugee Council.

Several days will also be spent on residency in Moniack Mhor, Scotland’s National Writing Centre in the Highlands – meeting Scottish writers and doing readings for the local population.