Tales of a Tour Guide: Middle East politics and the creative memoir with Ronnie Chatah
29 November 4pm-6pm
Screening Room, ground floor of 50 George Square
About: Please join us in warmly welcoming a very recent graduate of the MSc in Creative Writing, Ronnie Chatah, who will be reading from his work 'Tales of a Tour Guide'. Ronnie will be introduced by Dr Ewan Stein, Senior Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Edinburgh. His reading will be followed by a Q&A and then a wine reception.
Ronnie Chatah is a recent graduate of the MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. His previous degrees include a Master of Arts in Middle East Studies from the American University of Beirut and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Psychology from George Mason University.
Ronnie conducted a history and political walking tour of Beirut called WalkBeirut, which ran from 2009 – 2013. The tour was featured in The Wall Street Journal, Voice of America and BBC Radio 4, and navigated Beirut’s recent past while unraveling more complicated episodes - including Lebanon’s civil war - through storytelling. The tour remained popular among tourists and Lebanese alike, and functioned as the only walking tour of Beirut during those years.
WalkBeirut was brought to a halt when Ronnie’s father, Mohamad Chatah - a career diplomat, International Monetary Fund senior official, Lebanese finance minister and senior advisor to former prime ministers Fouad Seniora and Saad Hariri - was assassinated in a car bombing in Beirut on December 27, 2013. Ronnie left Lebanon in the immediate aftermath, and decided to pursue his father’s legacy in print. The culmination of that work is a manuscript currently under review, titled ‘Tales of a Tour Guide’. From tourism to tragedy, ‘Tales of a Tour Guide’ reflects on Lebanon’s recent politics and history, addressing the personal wounds associated with untimely and unjust loss.
Ronnie was interviewed by BBC’s Kim Ghattas about coping with his father’s murder while gauging its impact on local and regional politics. He was also interviewed by Lebanese-Canadian professor Gad Saad in his chat series ‘The Saad Truth’ on the assassination’s implications as well as other security issues affecting Lebanon.
Currently traveling in the US and the UK, Ronnie is scheduled to give several readings from ‘Tales of a Tour Guide’ and attend university panel discussions on topics related to Lebanese affairs.
co-sponsodred by CeSeR and the Department of English Literature
Centre for Security Research (CeSeR): http://www.sps.ed.ac.uk/ceser/