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Literary Talks > 2017 Autumn
Literary Club: 2 October 2017
(Doors open 6:15 - Event Starts 7:00 - 8:15)

Title: Can Books Create Empathy, Motivation and Respect?
(A deep look into reading and writing such books for the young)

Speaker: Elizabeth Laird McDowall
Language: English

Profile of the Talk
Why does fiction matter to the young? Is reading a waste of time, or is it a fundamental element in a young person's growth towards understanding others and the development of emotional intelligence? Writer Elizabeth Laird will talk of her own journey to become a writer, where she finds inspiration, and why she believes that stories that engage the heart and mind can be a force for good in individual lives and communities. She will be addressing both readers and writers.

Elizabeth Laird
Elizabeth Laird has lived in many parts of the world, including Ethiopia, Malaysia, Iraq and Lebanon. She is married to the writer David McDowall. Her oldest son, Angus, is currently Reuters Deputy Bureau Chief in Beirut. She and David divide their time between Edinburgh and London.

Elizabeth has written contemporary and historical fiction for children and young adults, as well as the retellings of folktales. Some of her novels are set outside the UK, in Kurdistan, Ethiopia, Lebanon, India and Pakistan. Others are set in Britain and deal with the problems and concerns of young people growing up today. She has also written four historical novels, and many shorter novels and picture books for younger children. Her retellings of folk stories include Shahnameh, the Persian Book of Kings, illustrated by Shirin Adl.
In 1996, she set up the Ethiopian Story Collecting Project with the British Council in Addis Ababa. The 300 folk stories she collected on travels throughout Ethiopia are now available at www.ethiopianfolktales.com in English and Amharic, and www.ethiopianfolktalesforkids.com in English.

Elizabeth's work has won many awards and her books have been translated into more than twenty-five languages.
For more information, visit her website at www.elizabethlaird.co.uk

Published Books
·        Welcome to Nowhere (2017) (set in Syria and Jordan)
·        Oranges in No Man’s Land 2006 (set in Beirut during the civil war)
·        A Little Piece of Ground 2003 (set in Palestine)
·        Kiss the Dust 1990 (about Kurdish refugees from Iraq)
·        Crusade 2008 (set  during the Third Crusade in the 11th century)
·        The Garbage King 2003 (set in Ethiopia - in a gang of street kids)
·        The Fastest Boy in the World 2015 (also set in Ethiopia - about an aspirational boy runner)
·        Red Sky in the Morning 1988 (set in the UK - about a family coping with a disabled child)

Several have been translated into French and three are in Arabic (the Tamer Institute in Ramallah and only available in Palestine).
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