Neustadt 2013 Kick Off and Opening Night Synopsis
The Neustadt Festival 2013 has officially begun! Ananda Devi regaled an overflowing room of students with stories of language, writing, and identity in the first Neustadt event of the week. Devi speaks over five languages fluently, and students were eager to ask her questions about her writing and learning process.
At opening night, the festival ignited with a celebration of poetry in all its forms. Two Norman high school students recited their favorite poems for our Poetry Out Loud competition, which sends students from across the country to compete in local, regional, and national poetry competitions. Ken Hada, Nathan Brown, and Ibtisam Barakat judged the competition, with WLT editor in chief Daniel Simon presiding as moderator.
In addition to student performances, we also heard poetry readings from all three of the competition judges as well as from two Neustadt jurors—Lauren Camp and Fady Joudah. NSK Laureate Naomi Shihab Nye closed the event with personal stories and two readings, including one of her most beloved poems, “One Boy Told Me.”
If you missed out on the events, there are still many more to come: today we’re launching two books, showing short films, hosting readings and book signings with Krys Lee and Laleh Khadivi, and talking Middle Eastern politics and culture. We hope you join us!
To follow along online, catch our live Tweeting throughout the events by following @NeustadtPrize or the hashtag #Neustadt2013. To further catch up on yesterday’s events, check on any of the thumbnails below to open the full screen photo gallery.