Reel Festivals

Reel Festivals, a UK-based charity, has been organizing a series of cultural exchange events in various countries in the Middle East for the past several years.

Artists and writers from England and Scotland pay a visit to these countries, and meet and interact with their counterparts. To continue the exchange, Reel Festivals then invites writers and artists from these same countries to visit the United Kingdom.

Events for Reel Festivals have taken place in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and, of course, the United Kingdom. In recent years, the festival developed a special focus on poetry of the areas, which led to many translations and reading events.

Reel Festivals Publications

Following the Reel Festivals events with Syrian and Lebanese writers and musicians visiting the UK in 2011, the organizers decided to publish a book of poetry. They then approached me to typeset and design the book, which I did in summer 2011.

I Chose To Listen - poetry from Reel Festivals

Called “I Chose To Listen”, the book – edited by Ryan Van Winkle and Lauren Pyott – collects work from:

Rasha Omran
Tom Pow
Mazen Maarouf
Emily Ballou
Golan Haji
Ryan Van Winkle
William Letford
Yehia Jaber


I Chose to Listen

I Chose to Listen features full Arabic and English versions of each poem submitted, plus intricate calligraphy from Everitte Barbee. In addition, we made postcards of this man’s unique work paired with poems from each writer (and corresponding translations).

View I Chose To Listen on the Reel Festivals website.