“I don’t know what home is,” says Palestinian writer Samir El-youssef. “I was born in a refugee camp, and once you are, you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘home’.” His books explore issues around identity and ideology, with The Illusion of Return focusing particularly on the need we all have to identify with and lay claim to a place we can call home. He asks: “To what can we return? A piece of land? To places we have never been or which have changed beyond recognition? Is ‘return’ just about escaping the inhospitality of the world?”
El-youssef is taking part in the Beyond Faith and Reason event at the festival on 16 April. You can hear him discuss rhetoric, the power of literature (“you discover your humanity”) and events in the Middle East here, in an interview from August 2006 with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, the American National Public Radio show.