What We Are Reading Today: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Updated 06 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Solitary by Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox has written about his time in prison in his new book Solitary: My Story of Transformation and Hope.

“His courageous story is spellbinding. His experience both breaks your heart and inspires by his courageous example,” said a review published in goodreads.com.

“Woodfox’s story is an extraordinary tale of survival. After being falsely accused and convicted of a prison murder, he fought for over 40 years to clear his name,” it added.

Solitary “is a beautiful blend of passion, terror, and hope that everyone needs to experience,” the review added.

In a review published in The New York Times, Thomas Chatterton Williams said: “Over the course of 400 painstaking pages, Woodfox attempts to make sense of his life, and his remarkable ability not just to endure but eventually to thrive. It is not a literary work, and this may actually be its strength, allowing the sheer force and enormity of the experience to shine through.”

Award-winning author Ibram X. Kendi said Solitary “is an astounding story and makes clear the inhumanity of solitary confinement.”


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.