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Ali Challenges Bush At NZ Post Writers Week


Ali Challenges Bush At New Zealand Post Writers And Readers Week

A surprise and very welcome late addition to the New Zealand International Arts Festival has come in the form of writer, filmmaker and long-term political activist Tariq Ali. The Pakistani-born, London-based commentator joins the list of international writers attending New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week (9-14 March 2004).

Tariq Ali’s two latest works are highly topical in the light of America’s most recent war. His bestseller The Clash of Fundamentalisms provides an explanation for both the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and new forms of Western colonialism. ‘Ali’s style is vigorous, his narrative compelling, showing that the short-term, self-interested and oil-greedy policies of the British and Americans in such countries as Egypt, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran must make our much-vaunted ideals of democracy and equity seem like a bad joke’, wrote Karen Armstrong in The Times.

Bush In Babylon - The Recolonisation of Iraq is a polemic on the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the US and Britain. Through both of these works Ali presents not just a passionate argument but a magnificent cultural history and a heartfelt homage to the great poets of Iraq and the Arab world whose influence remained strong throughout their long periods of exile.

Tariq Ali made his name as an activist in the 1960s and has since written over a dozen books on world history and politics, five novels and scripts for stage and screen. His novel Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree was awarded the 1994 Archbishop San Clemente del Instituto Rosalia de Castro Prize in Spain for Best Foreign Fiction and has been translated into several languages. He is driven by a socialist democrat view of current events and a desire to question and challenge, and is very much in demand as a provocative commentator on the current situation in the Middle East. Last August he attracted a crowd of 2000 people when he delivered the keynote address at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. He is a regular broadcaster on BBC Radio and contributes articles and journalism to magazines and newspapers including The Guardian and the London Review of Books.

Tariq Ali will appear in two New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week events on 12 and 13 March at the Embassy Theatre. The full line-up of international writers and information on how to book can be found on the Festival website ( http://www.nzfestival.telecom.co.nz). Concession passes for New Zealand Post Writers and Readers week are available now.

The complete programme of events for New Zealand Post Writers and Readers Week, including details of Tariq Ali’s appearances, is released on 5 February through booksellers and libraries. Public bookings for individual events open at Ticketek (ph 04 384 3840) on 7 February.

The New Zealand International Arts Festival runs from 27 February –21 March 2004.

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