Waterford Libraries and Waterford Arts Office with the support of the Creative Ireland Waterford Programme are delighted to support Cappoquin based writer Dalal Sayed who has published her first book Escape from War to Live in Peace. Born in Damascus, Dalal was in the midst of her studies as a primary school teacher when the Syrian civil war in 2011 escalated and forced her to flee. For the next six years she was on a perilous journey with her family to find safety. She arrived in Ireland in 2017 speaking no English. She now lives in Cappoquin Co. Waterford with her husband Amer and her three children Nazha, Judi and Aziz.
The book which is expected to attract interest both locally and nationally as a firsthand account of a family fleeing the war in Syria has already been endorsed by BBC Irish Foreign Correspondent Fergal Keane who wrote: “This is not a story mediated by a western journalist or aid worker; it is the authentic voice of a refugee. And what a brave, original voice it is.”
Writer and poet Lani O’ Hanlon who mentored Dalal explained: “I have been working with Dalal for over a year now and I am awed by her integrity, courage and writing gift especially as she adds English to the languages she already speaks. We are grateful for the support of Waterford City & County Libraries, the Waterford Arts Office and Creative Waterford for making it possible.”
Jane Cantwell, County Librarian and Head of Culture Team noted: “Dalal’s book is about courage, community and collaboration. It shows what can be achieved with the support of family, friends and the community in Cappoquin. Working together, Dalal and writer Lani O’Hanlon made Dalal’s story of resilience and hope available to us all. This beautifully produced book was supported by Creative Waterford funding and by the work of Waterford Council’s Culture Department and Libraries. I would like to congratulate and thank everyone involved in this project.”
Writer and poet Thomas McCarthy had high praise for the book writing: “This book will inspire everyone who reads it… Dalal has created a beacon of light in our world of darkness. This memoir she has now written, from the safety of my own native Cappoquin, is a truly inspiring story of suffering, endurance and hope.”