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Author of Tasting the Sky to visit Great Barrington on August 19

GREAT BARRINGTON, MA – Ibtisam Barakat, author of Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood, will speak at Bard College at Simon’s Rock on Sunday, August 19 at 7 p.m. Her talk, which is a part of the Book One program at Simon’s Rock, will be presented for incoming students in the Mc Connell Theater of the Daniel Arts Center, and it will be free and open to the public.

Tasting the Sky is a memoir of Barakat's experiences growing up in Ramallah. Set during the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War, Barakat captures what it is like to be a child whose world is shattered by war. She says of her work: “I grew up in a world that ached for freedom but could not touch it. So I wrote Tasting the Sky as an exercise in freedom and as an expression of it. When I lived in Ramallah, there was the sense that anything I loved or owned could be taken away from me in an instant. In writing this book, I finally could own a piece of my childhood.”
“Nothing is missing in this exquisite, tender account of a Palestinian childhood - love, attachment, struggle, fear, humor, resilience,” says writer Naomi Shihab Nye. “Ibtisam Barakat is a luminous writer and thinker. She is a wondrous healer, too.”
Says children’s author Jennifer Armstrong: “This is a poignant, eloquent testament of a war-torn childhood, a story we in the United States have only glimpsed before now.”

Barakat holds an MA in journalism and an MA in human development from the University of Missouri. Tasting the Sky is her first book. Her writing, which has been included in anthologies, focuses on the use of writing as a route towards personal transformation and the healing of social injustices. She has also worked with organizations such as the United Nations to facilitate a dialogue between Palestinians and Israelis. She currently lives in Columbia, Missouri.

The Book One program asks the members of the incoming class to read the first book of the Simon’s Rock general education program – and their college careers – over the summer before their arrival on campus. The author will speak during the week of their orientation program, the Writing & Thinking Workshop, to enrich their appreciation of the book and to give them the chance to ask questions of the author.

Ibtisam Barakat will be addressing the incoming class, other members of the Simon's Rock community, and the visiting faculty members participating in the Early College Teaching Seminar. The Book One program provides an opportunity for the Simon's Rock community to share a summer reading experience.

Simon's Rock Media Contact:
Briee Della Rocca: 413 644-4706
E-mail: bdellarocca@simons-rock.edu