Leaving Childhood Behind: A Conversation with Mosab Abu Toha, Poet and Founder of the Edward Said Public Library in Gaza


Location: Live on Zoom


Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian bilingual poet, essayist, and short story writer from Gaza. A graduate in English language, he taught English at the UNRWA schools in Gaza 2016-2019, and is the founder of the Edward Said Public Library, Gaza’s first English language library (now two branches).  In 2019-2020, Mosab became a visiting poet at Harvard University, hosted by the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also a columnist for Arrowsmith Press.  Mosab’s poetry, essays, and short stories have been or will be published by Poetry, Solstice, Banipal, Periphery, Harvard Human Rights Review, Kikah, Middle East Eye.  In 2020, Mosab gave talks and poetry readings at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, the University of Arizona, and the American Library Association Midwinter Exhibits and Meetings.  His first book of poetry, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza, will be published in April 2022 with City Lights Books.

This conversation will be moderated by Refqa Abu-Remaileh, Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Department of Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin and Principal Investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) project PALRead Country of Words and Alison Rice, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies and the Chair of the Romance Languages Department at the University of Notre Dame. 

Refqa Abu-Remaileh is professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Department of Semitic and Arabic Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. She is the Principal Investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) project PALRead Country of Words, a digital project that explores the history of Palestinian Literature. Abu-Remaileh received her DPhil and MSt in modern Arabic Literature and Film from the University of Oxford, and her BA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia.

Alison Rice is Chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Notre Dame. She specializes in 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature and film. Her first book, Time Signatures: Contextualizing Contemporary Francophone Autobiographical Writing from the Maghreb (Lexington Books 2006), closely examines the work of Hélène Cixous, Assia Djebar, and Abdelkébir Khatibi. Her second book, Polygraphies: Francophone Women Writing Algeria (University of Virginia Press, 2012), focuses on autobiographical writings by seven prominent Francophone women writers from Algeria. She is the editor of a forthcoming volume titled Transpositions: Migration, Translation, Music (Liverpool University Press, 2021) that explores a wide range of innovations in Francophone film, literature, theater, and art. Her current book project, inspired by a series of filmed interviews she conducted in Paris, constitutes an in-depth examination of the present proliferation of women writers of French from around the world.

This event is co-sponsored and co-organized with Archives of the Disappeared research seminar at the University of Cambridge and the Religion, Conflict, and Peace Initiative at Harvard University.