In the afternoon workshop at the Poetry Café,
Birkbeck College tutors Dr Mariana Giovino and Frans
van Koppen answered questions about Mesopotamian history and
literature. Together with their students, Simon Smith and
Irmengard Baker, they then helped people to write on wet
clay tablets the cuneiform signs for Balatay identified in the
inscription seen at the British Museum.
ZIPANG storyteller June Peters told a Sumerian
story about the world’s first diplomatic letter and the origin
of trade. This story is known as Enmerkar and Aratta
after the king of Uruk and his rival, the lord of Aratta.
The day ended with Iraqi folk and classical
music played by oud-player Khyam Allami with
percussionist Elizabeth Nott.