August 2017


Gingko were delighted to receive Professor Samia Mehrez from the American University in Cairo who delivered a lecture on the occasion of our book launch  Essays of the Sadat Era ( 1974-1981 ), translated into English for the first time. Entitled 'Naguib Mahfouz: Between Fiction and History', the lecture  addressed Mahfouz's much loved fiction but also the relationship regarding his journalistic output. Professor Mehrez explored Mahfouz's role as a civil servant, his weekly columns in Al Ahram newspaper and addressed the view that Mahfouz was too detached, lacked vision or a voice - something he is sometimes accused of. 

'There are certain principles which saturate my being, that is why my works must defend them.The most important of these principles is social justice. There are other equally urgent ones such as freedom, truth and knowledge. I cannot imagine that any of my works fail to abdicate such principles.'

Essays of the Sadat Era (1974-1981) is now available here. A copy of the speech will be available as a podcast on the Gingko website.

The event was kindly supported by the British Council Egypt and in association with the Arab British  Centre and London Middle East Institute


Gingko Conference 2017

The 2017 Gingko conference, held at the LSE in June, brought together dozens of scholars, religious leaders and policy makers from over 11 countries to debate and explore how  religious narratives interact with the contemporary geopolitical climate. Among the key note speakers were renowned author and broadcaster Karen Armstrong, Chair of Islamic and Inter-religious Studies at Edinburgh University Mona Siddiqui, former President of the LSE Craig Calhoun, British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson, Rabbi Naftali Brawer and Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Church in the UK.

Proceedings of the conference will be published in 2018.

A highlight of the event was a concert held at Holy Trinity Church curated by the Dean of the Barenboim-Said Akademie, Professor Mena Mark Hanna. Participants attended an  iftar in the church to celebrate the breaking of the fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.  



Yemen Exhibition Now Open 

The stunning 'Buildings that Fill My Eye' exhibition is now open at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS until September 23rd. Curated by Professor Trevor Marchand, t he exhibition explores the astonishing variety of building styles and traditions that have evolved over millennia. Yemen possesses one of the world's finest treasure-troves of architecture and three of its ancient cities - Shibam, Ṣan'ā' and Zabīd - are UNESCO World Heritage sites, with a number of other towns and building complexes around the country awaiting inclusion. The principal objective of this exhibition is to remind the public of Yemen's tremendous cultural creativity and the need for international collaboration to protect it and its people from the destructive forces that have beset the region. 

Open: Tuesday - Saturday 10.30 - 5.00pm, 
Late night: Thursday 10.30 - 8.00pm
Closed: Monday & Sunday

News & Upcoming 


Saturday, 7th October 2017, 7.30pm

St John's Smith Square, London
Critically acclaimed contemporary-fusion     ensemble Tafahum bring a unique collaboration to St John's Smith Square when they unveil a two-year project uniting music and poetry to celebrate Goethe's West-Eastern DivanThe music will draw inspiration from composers such as Brahms, Schubert and Schumann who in turn were inspired by the writings of Goethe. Tafahum will combine these traditionally Western styles into newly composed works, absorbing the ideas of the spiritual bridge that connected Goethe to the East.  

In 2019, on the 200th anniversary of the publication of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's West-Eastern DivanGingko will publish an anthology of 24 poems -12 by poets from the 'East' and 12 from the 'West'. A New Divan will build on the rich tradition of poets who have responded to other cultures, inspiring new English language poetry and music, just as the West-Eastern Divan did two centuries ago.
More information to follow in the next newsletter but you can learn about Tafahum here

Yemen Lecture Series

Gingko, in association with the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, are hosting two important lectures on Yemeni heritage as part of the ongoing Yemen series. 

September 15
Noha Sadek
Monuments of Faith and Power: Yemen's Religious Architecture

September 22 
St John Simpson 
Views of Aden

Both lectures will take place in the Khalili Lecture Theatre, Main Building SOAS at 6:00 pm followed by a reception in the Brunei Gallery. More information on the talks can be found here.

The lectures are free but places are limited so please email to reserve a seat

Limited Yemen Prints & Exhibition Catalogue Available 

To raise funds for the UNHCR Yemen Emergency Appeal, a selection of exhibition photographs are available for purchase. Please see the  sales sheet for details of the photographs, available print sizes, and prices. Prices include postage in the U.K.

All profits will be donated to the UNHCR Yemen Emergency Appeal.

This first series of prints are produced in limited editions of 20 for each of the 9 selected photographs. The photographs are printed on Hahnemuhle Torchon Art Paper, and each print is accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity with edition number and photographer's signature. 

To place an order or for further information, please contact: Professor Trevor Marchand 

The book accompanies the exhibition currently showing at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS and is edited by exhibition curator Professor Trevor Marchand. Authored by leading scholars from around the world, the twenty chapters explore the astonishing variety of building styles and traditions that have evolved over the millennia.

In acknowledgement of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen £5 from every copy sold will be donated to the UNHCR Yemen Emergency Appeal. 

To order a copy please click here


New Courses Available 

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