Guest post by University of St Andrews and Walker Books
Former refugee and author Dina Nayeri has partnered with St Andrews University and Walker Books on an important campaign to bring refugee stories to UK children and talk to them about how to welcome newcomers to their communities.
Dina is offering schools the opportunity to receive a special live event, as well as free student and library copies of her new book, The Waiting Place (5800 purchased by the University of St Andrews for distribution across the UK). Alongside the Discussion Guide, she will invite UK children to think about the experiences of other kids around the world, and to think about how they will be welcoming and supportive neighbours when newcomers arrive to their communities. Please note that The Waiting Place is released on 2 June and free books and workshops will be available after Refugee Week 2022.
The Waiting Place is a thought–provoking look into the lives of the children in the Katsikas Refugee camp in Northern Greece, which Dina visited with photographer Anna Bosch Miralpeix.
During the live event Dina will discuss her own experience of being a child refugee and the stories of children she has met in refugee camps as an adult. Using innovative discussion techniques (including art, conversation, and storytelling) the talks will invite children to think about and discuss complex topics such as displacement, the refugee crisis, and welcome, empathy, and home.
The Waiting Place captures the lives of a group of refugee children from Afghanistan and Iran, who are suspended outside of time, armed with just their hopes and dreams for the future. In Nayeri’s lyrical passages, we meet children living in the Katsikas refugee camp and discover more about their lives, friendships, ambitions, and personalities. Their stories are punctuated by intimate photographs, followed by Nayeri’s reflections on life in the camp.
Dina Nayeri is a former refugee and the author of the adult title The Ungrateful Refugee, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the Kirkus Prize. Her work has been published in more than twenty countries and in The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Best American Short Stories, the New York Times, and many other publications. Of her work with Anna Bosch Miralpeix for The Waiting Place, she says, “Each morning we set off, me with my notebook, she with her camera and tripod, to see these brave little people fighting back against the waiting place – the monster that wants to get inside you, to change you.” Dina Nayeri lives in Scotland and is a lecturer at St Andrews University.
“I was a refugee from Iran when I was a child. We landed in Oklahoma when I was 10, after nearly two years of displacement, including time in a camp, and I wasn’t welcomed. The sheer volume of abuse that I got from native–born Western children stayed with me throughout my life. And I think the answer to that is to prepare our children to be welcoming, and loving, and good neighbours, as they naturally are! The book is all about how these 10 real–life children cope in a refugee camp, and it’s written in to show how joyful, fun, and resilient they are, even in “the waiting place.”
Working with two on–the–ground charities (including Refuge Support, for which I’m a trustee), I want to visit schools and introduce UK children to the children waiting in the camps, and to talk to them about my own life, and how they can welcome newcomers.”
To start the process for getting a free school visit and books, please follow this link.