The Refuge of Writing: An Evening with Ibtisam Barakat


On Thursday, March 1st, Palestinian-American Ibtisam Barakat will be holding a talk and discussion about her life growing up in a nation at civil war and her experiences as a refugee. The event will happen in Sage Hall room 1210 at 6:30pm. The general public is invited to attend, and there will be free parking in UW Oshkosh Lot 7, which is next to Sage Hall.

Ms. Barakat is known worldwide for her memoirs, Balcony on the Moon and Tasting the Sky, both of which have won more than 20 awards. She has earned her Master’s in Journalism, Human Development, and Family studies since relocating to the United States in 1986, and will be speaking about how she has used writing to promote self-understanding and bridge gaps between cultures. There will be a Q&A panel after the talk, followed by a book signing.

The next day, Ms. Barakat will lead a workshop on “writing your life” with local high school students of refugee background, who will be paired with English and Sociology students as they work to start memoirs about their own experiences.

Ms. Barakat’s visit to UWO is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s Sociology Department, Religious Studies and Anthropology Department, and the Office of Academic Support of Inclusive Excellence.


*Jeremy Norris, Oshkosh Independent intern via UWO Sociology Department, contributed to this story.



About Author

Paul Van Auken

Paul Van Auken has been a member of the sociology and environmental studies faculty at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh since 2007, after completing a Ph.D. in sociology from UW-Madison. A native of Iowa but resident of Wisconsin since 1999, Paul conducts research on issues related to neighborhood, community, land use planning and access to public space, sustainability, and teaching and learning. He also practices public sociology, regularly writing a column called “Shortening the Distance” for Oshkosh Independent. He lives with his wife and two daughters on the historic, walkable, and interesting east side of Oshkosh, near the shores of Lake Winnebago.

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