What future for Syria? Author Diana Darke finds hope and inspiration in telling the story of a Syrian cloth trader in her latest book, The Merchant of Syria, which she reads from and discusses at this special event.

In the book, the story of the merchant’s resilience is told in parallel to the rich history of a nation built on trade. Over millennia Syria has seen great conflict and turmoil, but like the remarkable story of Abu Chaker, it continues to survive. Barely literate, and supporting his mother and sisters from the age of ten, Abu builds up a business empire, despite twice losing everything he has.

Diana Darke follows his tumultuous journey, from instability in Syria and civil war in Lebanon, to his arrival in England in the 1970s, where he rescued a failing Yorkshire textile mill, Hield Bros, transforming it into a global brand, based on little more than trust.


Presented in association with Bristol Festival of Ideas

Monday 4 June

Diana Darke ‘The Merchant of Syria’

£8, £5 Students/U21s

A £1 postage fee is charged where applicable

70 minutes / no interval

Recommended Age: 14+

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