School Visit

International School Visit

Tuesday 18 May

The 5 Writers-in-Residence meet Mr Nigel, El Gouna International School

Today we five writers-in-residents visited the El Gouna International School to meet the pupils and run workshops. After grabbing a hasty breakfast together we set off (Seni was already there) – Tizzy and I jumping in a tuk-tuk.

Waiting to do my workshop - International School, El Gouna

We were met my the Deputy Head, a nice bloke originally from Nottingham, ‘Mr Nigel’. A year before retirement, he had a pleasant easy-going attitude. He’d certainly seen the world as a well-travelled teacher. We had coffee together – which was much needed, after not getting much sleep (the wild desert wind; the heat; the midges; a dodgy stomach; my mind racing). I’d woken up about 3am and ended up typing some poems up. So, I wasn’t in the best of states… I was led to my class of year 7s – run by ‘Miss Becky’ from Cardiff. The room had a pleasant feel – with some impressive work and resources on the wall. A scale model of The Globe sat in the corner! I asked where everyone was from – there was an interesting mixture: many were half-Egyptian/half-European. Being a global mongrel myself I felt at home. I introduced myself and my work and read out some examples of my poems – getting the kids to make sound fx (howling wind, for ‘Song of the North Wind’; motorbike revs for ‘Ignition’). I recited ‘Phone Tree’ – my mobile phone poem; then performed my new piece, hot off the press (I’d finished it just before breakfast, despite being half-asleep) – ‘Rubbish Rap’, written on a sheet of card made from old Tetrapaks.

Rubbish Rap - written on recycled tetrapak - by Kevan Manwaring

I donned my shades and baseball cap, doing my embarrassing white-men-can’t-rap (unless you’re Eminem) act. I got the kids to join in with the chorus:

‘El Gouna, the place to be – the greenest resort on the Red Sea!’

OK, it won’t win any literary prizes, I know – but as long as it raises awareness and celebrates El Gouna’s green initiatives, fostering a sense of local pride, that’s what matters. They seemed to enjoy it anyway, and it got them fired up to write their own ‘rubbish poem’, on any piece of scrap paper they could find. They read out their finished piece – and I was very pleased with the results. Hearing them ‘big up’ recycling gave me hope. The fact that many had written a poem in a second language was impressive – more than I could do!

We finished with some good questions – from ‘Why did you start to write?’ down to the nitty gritty: ‘How many books do they print/do you sell?’ (in other words, how much money do you make/how successful are you). I answered the last one by saying ‘If you’re in writing to make money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons.’

A final photo opportunity – and a lovely speech from the class rep, thanking me and hoping I’ll return – then it was time to go. What a well-behaved and bright class – a credit to their teacher and to themselves.

I met up with the other writers and we were all buzzing about how our respective classes had gone. It sounds like the kids adored us. Out here they don’t get the kind of cultural visits that school-children in, say, Britain get these days – and so they really appreciated us, which was nice. It was satisfying to engage with locals in this way – contributing something meaningful, rather than simply absorbing everything like the life-sponges us writers are.

An all-round success.

Ms Becky's class at the International School, El Gouna

For the May Writers’ Residency we would like to send out an invitation from your emailing list for interested Gounies to come and meet the writers for Tea on Friday 21 May before the closing ceremony and Reading Event on Friday 28 May (A few Gounies made this suggestion in February). Both events will be at 6pm in the library. There brief bios are below and the Group Picture will be sent to you tomorrow. I will be out of the office for a few days and feel free to call me at anytime on 012 22 22 755

Looking forward to your feedback,


Kevan Manwaring is an author of over a dozen books, including poetry, fiction and non-fiction. He teaches creative writing for the Open University and Skyros Writers Lab. As a professional storyteller he has performed in many venues across Britain and abroad, including USA, Italy and Malta – recently appearing on BBC TV. He lives in Bath, in the south-west of England. While at El Gouna he is working on a desert-based novel. His website is:

Lauri Kubuitsile is a full time, award-winning writer from Botswana. She has three published children’s books, two detective novellas, a romance novella, and three collections of short stories for children co-written with two other Batswana writers. She was the 2007 recipient of the Botswana Ministry of Youth and Culture’s Orange Botswerere Award for Creative Writing. In 2009 she won the Baobab Literary Prize

(USA) in the junior category.(

Seni Seneviratne is a widely acclaimed poet and live artist of English and Sri Lankan heritage.  Her poetry collection, Wild Cinnamon and Winter Skin (Peepal Tree Press 2007) has been described as “a virtual master class between covers.” Her performances combine spoken word and a cappella song – “…folk-tinged numbers that take all the air out the room, and make everyone shiver….” Seni has recently released a CD of poetry and song.

Author Elmaz Abinader has won the 2002 Goldies Award for Literature, a PEN/Josephine Miles award for poetry and two Drammies (Oregon’s Drama Circle) for her performances. Author of a Memoir, Children of the Roojme, a collection of poetry, In The Country of my Dreams and several one-woman shows, Elmaz recently performed her play, Country of Origin at the Kennedy Center. Her forthcoming works include a novel, When Silence is Frightening and a memoir The Water Cycle. She is a co-founder of the Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation and a professor at Mills College.

Tiziana Colusso ( is an Italian author of prose, poetry, non-fiction writing and fairy tales. She studied Comparative Literature in the Universities of Rome and Paris. She is from 2005 an elected member in the Board of the European Writers’ Council, the Federation of  Authors Associations of all European countries, based in Brussels. She is the Editor of FORMAFLUENS- International Literary Magazine ( Her last book,  La lingua langue , is a collection of her poetry translated into ten languages (Arabic, Bengali, English, French, Japanese, Latvian, Romanian, Slovak, Spanish, Ukrainian) in occasion of international Festivals and  Meetings. The book is published in collaboration with Associazione Eurolinguistica of “La Sapienza” Rome University. In El Gouna she is working on a book that collects reports from her travels: the title is La manutenzione della meraviglia (The Amazement Maintenance).


El Gouna Writers’ Residency Program Closing Ceremony

The first El Gouna Writers’ Residency Program, under the patronage of Mrs. Yousriya Loza-Sawiris, is coming to an end and this will be celebrated with a Reading Event. The three participating writers will be reading abstracts from the literary project they have been working on during the Residency.

Friday, February 26, 2010 at 4 pm at the Embassy of Knowledge – El Gouna

The idea of having El Gouna host its first writers’ residency, which is also the first of its kind in the MENA region, was initiated by Dr. Sahar El Mougy, Assistant Professor of Contemporary English and American Literature, in September 2009.  Dr. El Mougy also acts as the head of the advisory board in the good company of the famous author Mr. Khaled Al Khamisi, Dr. Maha El Saied, Assistant Professor of Contemporary English Literature, Dr. Eman Ezz Eddin, Associate Professor of Drama and Mythology, Dr. Khaled Mousa, Assistant Professor of Spanish Literature, and Dr. Moumina Hafez, Lecturer of Modern and Contemporary German Literature.

The Writers

Valerie Laws is a poet, playwright for stage and radio, and crime novelist. She has written 8 books and specializes in science/poetry public installations and project


Mvemba Phezo Dizolele is a Congolese-born American writer, journalist and foreign policy analyst. A frequent commentator on foreign affairs, he has been a guest on the BBC, VOA, Al Jazeera, NPR and PBS and his writings have been published in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune and Hoover Digest.

He is currently writing the biography of Mobutu Sese Seko.

Khadijah Ibrahiim is of Jamaican parentage and born in the city of Leeds. Hailed as one of Yorkshire’s ‘most prolific’ poets by BBC Radio, she continues to make various stage appearances across Britain, the USA, the Caribbean and Africa.

Notable works include ‘Leeds Celebrates South Africa’. She was a member of the advisory group that organized events which marked the visit of Dr. Nelson Mandela to the City of Leeds.

If you are interested in attending this event, please contact Mr. Emad Ibrahim – El Gouna Library Manager ( Ext. 32589. There are limited seats available.

There will be no facilities for children during this event.

The Information Center Team

El Gouna Information Center

El Gouna, Red Sea

A Subsidiary of Orascom Development

Tel: +2 065 354 9702 /03 /04 | Internal Ext: 32100 I I


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s