The Shaharazad project is an offshoot of the International Cities of Refuge Network (ICORN). The aim is to open up a free space in Europe for writers from all over the world to connect and release their stories.
Shahrazad is the legendary storyteller of One Thousand and One Nights, and her story goes like this:
Once upon a time, there was a Persian king who married a virgin every night and beheaded each one in the morning.
One night, the tyrant king asked for the vizier’s daughter, Shahrazad. She entered his chamber and offered to tell him a story. The king lay awake and listened to the story with amazement and when it was finished, he demanded another. Clever Shahrazad said no, dawn was breaking and they had run out of time. But she promised a second story, even more amazing than the first.
And so the king kept Shahrazad alive, eagerly anticipating each new story. One thousand and one nights later, the king had not only been entertained but wisely educated in morality and kindness by Shahrazad who became his queen.
By telling stories, she not only saved her own life, but also the lives of others.
Shahrazad- Stories for Life
Barcelona – Brussels – Frankfurt – Norwich – Stockholm – Stavanger
Shahrazad will bring new, original and challenging stories from all over the world into Europe. These stories will be created, told and disseminated by poets, journalists, novelists, editors, cartoonists, translators and essayists who are persecuted and silenced in their own homelands.
Human rights, free speech, diversity and solidarity are core values within the project.
Shahrazad will become a unique tool for integration and for understanding between insiders and outsiders within communities, countries and even continents. It will also generate a great number of literary events and projects, dialogue and debate, within the six partner cities.
The Shahrazad project will set in motion a transnational dynamic of sharing and exchanging new stories. It will reach out specifically to individuals and groups unfamiliar with traditional literary and cultural activities. It will focus especially on children and young people who, through educational programmes, creative workshops and digital story production, will experience both the receiving and production ends of the Stories for Life chain of communication.
Ultimately, the Shahrazad project aims to provide Europe with new, more open and sustainable narratives about itself. By opening up to human and artistic impulses from ‘outside’, Europe can regain and revitalise some of its capital values: freedom, democracy and solidarity.
Shahrazad - stories for life is a European Union Culture 2007: multi-annual co-operation project