Join us for an engaging conversation with 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize winner Christy Lefteri, author of “The Beekeeper of Aleppo.” Lefteri will discuss her provocative novel, about Syrian war refugees making a perilous journey to Great Britain, with Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur. The conversation also will go beyond the book with Qutaiba Idlbi, who will share his insights and experiences as a Syrian refugee in America.
About the Speakers
Brought up in London, Christy Lefteri is the child of Cypriot refugees. She is a lecturer in creative writing at Brunel University. Her novel “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF-supported refugee center in Athens. She also is the author of the novel “A Watermelon, a Fish and a Bible.”
Qutaiba Idlbi is a Syria fellow at the International Center for Transitional Justice, researching the framework of political imprisonment in Syria, and a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute, researching economic sanctions and forced displacement. He was a co-founder and vice president of People Demand Change (PDC), an enterprise to develop, fund and implement solutions to humanitarian, social and political challenges in the Middle East. He currently serves as a board member of Paper Airplanes, Abjad Initiative for Education, and Tastakel Women Center, where he advances accelerated education, skills training and women empowerment across refugee communities in the Middle East. He graduated from Columbia University.
About the Moderator
Adrienne Brodeur is the author of the memoir, “Wild Game,” which is in development for film. During her 15 years in the publishing industry, she founded the literary magazine “Zoetrope: All-Story” with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, was an acquiring editor at Harcourt and HMH Books, and served as a judge for the National Book Award, among other literary contests. Her essays have appeared in Glamour, O Magazine, The National, The New York Times, Vogue and other publications. She has been with Aspen Words since 2013.
The Community Read, presented by Aspen Words and Pitkin County Library, strives to celebrate literature, unite readers around a work of fiction and ignite meaningful conversation on the vital social issues explored in the novel “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” by Christy Lefteri, winner of the 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize.
About the Book
With the first sentence, “I am afraid of my wife’s eyes,” we enter a world too visible for the protagonists who can’t, nevertheless, turn away. How do human beings process the horror around them, the senseless violence, the loss of what we hold dearest? Is it possible to ever feel safe, to love, to appreciate beauty? Christy Lefteri asks these questions of her characters, and ultimately, of us. We see wars on our screens and cross paths with the survivors in new lives in our neighborhoods, but we don’t see them. Lefteri brings us closer so we can, without fear.