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Words for Relief: A Reading for Victims of the Turkey-Syria Earthquake

Organized by Words Without Borders, this virtual benefit event features readings by Orhan Pamuk, Maureen Freely, Elif Shafak, and others.
          Clockwise from top left: Orhan Pamuk, Elif Shafak, Sema Kaygusuz, Merve Emre, Nicholas Glastonbury, Laila Lalami, Bachtyar Ali, and Maureen Freely.

The earthquakes in southeastern Turkey and northwestern Syria in February have led to more than 50,000 deaths, the displacement of millions, and massive devastation on either side of the border.

This online fundraiser with contemporary international authors and translators aims to raise funds to aid relief efforts and demonstrate solidarity with the Syrian, Turkish, and Kurdish people affected by the disaster.

Organized by Words Without Borders and hosted by author Merve Emre (writer and scholar, Turkey/USA), the fundraiser will feature readings by Laila Lalami (novelist and essayist, Morocco/USA), Orhan Pamuk (novelist and essayist, Turkey), Elif Shafak (novelist and essayist, Turkey/UK), Maureen Freely (translator from Turkish, USA), Sema Kaygusuz (novelist and playwright, Turkey), Nick Glastonbury (translator from Turkish and Kurdish, USA), Bachtyar Ali (novelist, Iraq Kurdistan/Germany), Kareem Abdulrahman (translator from Kurdish, UK), Ghayath Almadhoun (poet, Palestine/Syria/Sweden), Catherine Cobham (translator from Arabic, Scotland), Şener Özmen (writer, Turkey, Kurdistan), Ebru Ojen (writer, Turkey/Kurdistan), Selin Gökçesu (translator from Turkish, USA), Aron Aji (translator from Turkish, USA), Ralph Hubbell (translator from Turkish, USA), Max Lawton (translator from Turkish, USA), Ava Homa (writer, Iran/Kurdistan/Canada), Goran Baba Ali (writer, Iraq/Kurdistan/UK), Khaled Khalifa (novelist, Syria), Leri Price (translator from Arabic, Scotland), Khalil Alrez (novelist, Syria/Belgium), and Margaret Litvin (translator from Arabic, USA).

Please join us online (Zoom) on Thursday, March 9th, at 1 pm EST/New York, 6 pm GMT/London, 9 pm GMT+3/Gaziantep & Aleppo. Register here.

This event benefits relief efforts for victims of the Turkey-Syria earthquake. You are invited to make a donation via Eventbrite when you register using the “Donation” field. Donations will be divided equally and passed through to the following organizations:

Heyva Sor



Please feel free to donate directly to one of the organizations. 


Event Co-Sponsors:

The New York Review of Books


The London Review of Books

The Yale Review

The New Yorker

Lit Hub

PEN International