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Al Hakawati الحكواتي (The Storyteller)

Storytelling is one of Syria’s greatest traditions and Al Hakawati (the Storyteller) holds a special place in Syrian culture. As a nod to this, Hands Up is presenting a series of stories online, told by voices you'll recognise. All we ask in return is a donation to support Hands Up's work in Syria and Lebanon, which is needed more than ever as the threat of COVID-19 spreads. All stories will be published here for you to listen to and enjoy.

Al Hakawati الحكواتي (The Storyteller) Introduction

Sculptor & Archaeologist, Zahed Tajeddin, kindly introduces our series of stories online told by some of the UK’s best-loved voices from wherever they are in isolation...

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#1 David Dimbleby: 'The Slaying of the Corona Dragon'

'The Slaying of the Corona Dragon' was penned and read by Journalist and Broadcaster David Dimbleby at his home in spring 2020. He wrote it for his grandchildren, as they adjusted to a world isolated by Corona Virus and no school...

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#2 Mishal Husain: Extract from 'The Battle for Home', Marwa al-Sabouni

The second reading from our Al Hakawati series, comes from broadcaster and journalist, Mishal Husain, who you may recognize from the Today programme on Radio 4 amongst others...

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#3 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Iain Burnside: 'One Art', Elizabeth Bishop & 'Tea', Carol Ann Duffy.

Our third Storyteller is the brilliant Iain Burnside, a Pianist and Broadcaster, whose voice you may know from BBC Radio 3‘s Sunday Morning back in the day...

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#4 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Jan Ravens: 'Catching the Bus' a short story by Philippa Gregory

Actor and Impressionist Jan Ravens, has generously agreed to be our 4th storyteller in the series. She's chosen a short story from Philippa Gregory's collection 'Bread and Chocolate' published by HarperCollins...

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#5 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Petroc Trelawny: 'A Dragon Apparent' by Norman Lewis

Our 5th story in the Al Hakawati series comes from the brilliant TV & Radio Broadcaster, Petroc Trelawny, who you will usually hear on BBC Radio 3’s Breakfast...

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#6 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Levison Wood: reading from his book 'The Last Giants'

The 6th story from our Al Hakawati series is from the intrepid author, photographer and filmmaker Levison Wood. Levison reads the introduction from his book 'The Last Giants, The Rise and Fall of the African Elephant', published by Hachette in February this year...

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#7 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Brigid Keenan: 'Lady Damascus'

Prepare to be transported to the magical old city of Damascus. The 7th story from our Al Hakawati series is from the brilliantly witty author and journalist Brigid Keenan...

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#8 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Samuel West: 'Melisande' by E Nesbit

Our 8th story in the Al Hakawati series comes from actor and director Samuel West, who has chosen to read the magical tale of 'Melisande' by E Nesbit from his mother's 1938 copy...

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#9 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Clare Balding: 'Walking Home: My Family and Other Rambles'

Our 9th story from our Al Hakawati series is an insightful and very moving piece from none other than Broadcaster and author, Clare Balding...

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#10 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Michael Morpurgo: 'The Kites are Flying'

Our 10th story from the Al Hakawati series comes from the magnificent Michael Morpurgo, who reads his short story, ‘The Kites are Flying’ published by Walker Books in full...

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#11 Al Hakawati (The Storyteller) Anthony Sattin: 'The Man who Laughed in the Tomb'

Our 11th story from the Al Hakawati series comes from the Writer & Broadcaster Anthony Sattin, who reads an extract from his book The Pharaoh's Shadow (published by Eland Publishing in 2012 and available at all good bookstores!) titled 'The Man who Laughed in the Tomb'...

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