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About the speakers

Edmund de Waal

Edmund de Waal is an artist who writes. Much of his work is about the contingency of memory: bringing particular histories of loss and exile into renewed life. Both his artistic and written practice have broken new ground through their critical engagement with the history and potential of ceramics, as well as with architecture, music, dance and poetry. De Waal continually investigates themes of diaspora, memorial, materiality and the colour white with his interventions and artworks made for diverse spaces and museums worldwide.

His library of exile installation was created as a 'space to sit and read and be' and houses more than 2,000 books in translation, written by exiled authors.

Image credit: Ben McKee

Alia Trabucco Zerán

Alia Trabucco Zerán was born in Chile in 1983. She was awarded a Fulbright scholarship for her MFA in Creative Writing at New York University and she holds a PhD in Spanish and Latin American Studies from University College London. La Resta (The Remainder), her debut novel, won the prize for Best Unpublished Literary Work awarded by the Chilean Council for the Arts in 2014, and on publication was chosen by El País as one of its top ten debuts of 2015. In 2019 The Remainder was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize.

Selma Dabbagh

Selma is a British Palestinian writer of fiction. Born in Scotland, she has also lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, France, Egypt and the West Bank. Her first novel, ‘Out of It,’ set between London, Gaza and the Gulf was published by Bloomsbury and listed as a Guardian Book of the Year in 2011 and 2012 and won the Premio Prima Opera in Spoleto in 2019. Her radio plays have been produced by BBC Radio 4 and WDR in Germany and her short stories published by outlets such as Granta and International PEN. She’s also written for film and stage and her non-fiction has appeared in the Guardian and the London Review of Books. She regularly writes on Palestinian literature and film for the Electronic Intifada. She is currently editing the anthology 'We Wrote In Symbols; Love and Lust by Arab Women Writers', forthcoming Saqi, 2021.

Image credit: Rowan Griffiths

Chaired by Philippe Sands

Philippe Sands QC is Professor of Law at University College London and a practising barrister at Matrix Chambers. He appears as counsel before international courts and tribunals, and sits as an international arbitrator. He is the author of Lawless World (2005) and Torture Team (2008) and several academic books on international law, and has contributed to the New York Review of Books, Vanity Fair, the Financial Times and the Guardian. East West Street: On the Origins of Crimes Against Humanity and Genocide (2016) won the 2016 Baillie Gifford Prize, the 2017 British Book Awards Non-Fiction Book of the Year, and the 2018 Prix Montaigne. His new book, The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive, was published in April 2020. It is also available as a BBC podcast. Philippe is President of English PEN and a member of the Board of the Hay Festival.

Image credit: Antonio Olmos