In 2009, I was living in Damascus, Syria, writing The Hakawati’s Daughter. The film told the story of the last remaining hakawati, oral storyteller, in Damascus. Like many traditions in the Arab world, the hakawati profession is an inherited one, passed on through the generations since 600 AD from father to son and so on. But in my film, the last hakawati has only one child, a daughter, and rather than adapting/modernizing this tradition and passing it on to her, he allows it to die. Two years later, the Syrian revolution broke out and the story, along with the country, fell apart. I have spent the years since reimagining what the story could be instead. Prior to the revolution, what interested me was how the film would explore the battle between tradition and modernity. What interests me today is ‘who has the right to tell the narrative of what is happening in Syria?’ Sadly, it is mostly men. This is the theme The Hakawati’s Daughter now wishes to explore. This article is an account of how the Syrian revolution inspired the rewriting of The Hakawati’s Daughter.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory