Ryan is all over the Edinburgh International Book Festival

July 29, 2014

I’ll be chairing two events and reading at two more this year at the EIBF. Great to be back in sunny Charlotte Square!


Tue 12 Aug 9:00pm – 11:00pm — The Guardian Spiegeltent

Reel Festivals presents Syria Speaks, a celebration of contemporary Syrian writing and music. With readings from Samar Yazbek’s Pinter Prize-winning war diaries and Malu Halasa’s sly (but not shy) Secret Life of Syrian Lingerie, this event highlights the humour, resilience and strength of Syrian art, even in these most challenging times. Through the poetry of Golan Haji, the adventures of novelist Robin Yassin-Kassab, and the storytelling and songs of the irrepressible Raast Collective, Syria Speaks will make you laugh, cry and maybe even dance.


Wed 13 Aug 1:30pm – 2:30pm — Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

Of Me and Others is as close to Alasdair Gray’s autobiography as we are likely to get. Described by its editor Alistair Braidwood as ‘ribald, humorous, angry and incisive’, this new tome by one of Scotland’s literary superstars describes his meetings with authors such as Anthony Burgess, and explains how he went about writing his masterpiece Lanark and recent Faust adaptation, Fleck.


Sat 16 Aug 9:30pm – 10:30pm — Baillie Gifford Main Theatre

Faber and Faber is world famous for publishing the giants of poetry. Now, with My Prefect Cousin, Faber offers us the poems of cult poet Paul Hamilton. His cousin, the renowned comedy actor Kevin Eldon, has pieced together Hamilton’s story, the man once described by the Poetic Literary Review as ‘a diabolical libertarian’. Join Eldon as he charts the rollercoaster ride of a life dedicated to verse.


Mon 25 Aug 9pm – 11pm — Guardian Spiegeltent

The Edinburgh Cabaret of Words, Music & Lyrical Delights comes to the Book Festival! Details to follow…

Ryan talks to The Skinny about Reel Festivals

July 9, 2014

This August Reel Festivals will return to the Unbound Series at the EIBF with our show Syria Speaks, a combination of song, dance and word from Syrian artists. In an interview with The Skinny we talk about finding the story beyond the headlines.

Tammam Azzam on Culture Laser

October 8, 2013

Ryan Van Winkle discusses art and the current situation in Syria with artist Tammam Azzam. Tammam talks about his transition to digital art after moving to Dubai just over 2 year ago. Each of his artworks “coincides with a particular event of the Uprising, depicting a variety of fractured and wounded maps of Syria, fallen chess pawns and other symbols reconfigured in powerful reflections of the turmoil facing his countrymen.” See samples of his works at the Ayyam Gallery. We also feature the track Khabar Ajel (‘breaking news’) from Syrian musician Wael Alkak. His Album is NESHAMA which you can download from iTunes or visit his Soundcloud  and Facebook page.

Reel Festivals’ Golan Haji

June 12, 2011

Golan Haji on the Podcast


One of the highlights of the Reel Festivals trip to Lebanon was getting to work and learn from Golan Haji. Golan, who lives in Syria, is a sensitive translator; a subtle, brave and unique poet. I interviewed him while we were in Beirut as we didn’t know if his visa for the UK would come through in time. At the time of the interview we were both keenly aware of the protests taking place in Syria. With this in mind — I hope you give a listen to this thoughtful voice. You can find more poetry, music, videos and blogs on the Reel Festivals site.

Ryan x

Listen Here:


Syrian poet Golan Haji joins Ryan in Beirut as part of the cultural collaboration festival of poetry, film and music Reel Festivals. They take some time out to chat about about poetry, translation, borders and politics.

Presented by Ryan Van Winkle. Incidental music by Ewen Maclean. Produced by Colin Fraser of Anon Poetry Magazine and@anonpoetry.



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About Golan Haji

Golan HajiGolan Haji is a Syrian poet, with a postgraduate degree in pathology. He has published a number of books includingCalled in Darkness (2004), which won the ‘Al-Maghut’ prize in poetry, and Someone Sees You as a Monster (2008). His next collection, My Cold Faraway Home, will be published in Autumn 2011.  He has also translated various works into Arabic including the Scottish classic – Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He lives in Damascus.



And Check Out

Andrew Philip’s blog from our poetry reading at the SPL. I’m grateful he summed up such a powerful reading in such a elegant way.