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In 2014 Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha was inspired by a book he rescued from rubble to found the Edward Said Public Library in Beit Lahia City, Gaza's first English-language library. Noam Chomsky hailed the library “a rare flicker of light and hope for the young people of Gaza.” The success of the Said library has led to the recent opening of a second branch in Gaza City. In this lecture, Abu Toha will recount his pursuit of a dream to share literature with other Gazans amid hardship and danger under Israeli occupation, as well as the obstacles faced in acquiring resources ranging from books to a building. Abu Toha will also read two of his poems.In 2014 Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha was inspired by a book he rescued from rubble to found the Edward Said Public Library in Beit Lahia City, Gaza's first English-language library. Noam Chomsky hailed the library “a rare flicker of light and hope for the young people of Gaza.” The success of the Said library has led to the recent opening of a second branch in Gaza City. In this lecture, Abu Toha will recount his pursuit of a dream to share literature with other Gazans amid hardship and danger under Israeli occupation, as well as the obstacles faced in acquiring resources ranging from books to a building. Abu Toha will also read two of his poems.

About the speaker

Mosab Abu Toha is a young Palestinian poet from Gaza. A graduate in English language teaching and literature, he taught English at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) schools in Gaza from 2017 until 2019, and is the founder of the Edward Said Library, Gaza’s first English-language library. As many of Gaza’s libraries were destroyed, he began a campaign in 2014 to collect donations of English-language books. In 2019-2020, Mosab is a visiting poet and scholar with Harvard’s Scholars at Risk Program, hosted by the Department of Comparative Literature. He is also a visiting librarian-in-residence at Houghton Library. Mosab is also a columnist for Arrowsmith Press. 


This lecture is co-sponsored by Houghton Library, Scholars at Risk Program, Mahindra Humanities Center, Harvard College Writing Program, Department of Comparative Literature, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, and Harvard Divinity School Religious Literacy Project.