2018

Action for The Silenced of Syria

Those who struggle to speak out for human rights whose voices are stifled: the human rights activists, the bloggers, the writers, the poets, the journalists, the people…

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Painting Mahmoud Dayoub, Syrian artist. Available from Artiquea, London

Syrian and International Poets and Musicians for Peace in Syria

Malak Soufi is a poet and journalist. At the opening of the International Festival of Poetry in Havana, Cuba in 2016, she appealed to all present to oppose violence in Syria through the power of poetry. She is editor of two anthologies Mother and Salt Boundaries: poetry by refugees on Lesbos.

Greta Sykes is a poet, writer, artist and activist who spent her childhood and youth in the fire bombed town of Hamburg after the Second World War. She writes poetry in English and German and is a longstanding member of ‘London Voices’ poetry group with her poetry included in their anthologies. Her own poetry collection is Die Gaia Kollection (2004) and her first novel Under Charred Skies (2015) covers the catastrophe of destruction during the Nazi era. She is a chartered psychologist and university tutor.

Shie Raouf is from the city of Slemani in Kurdistan. She is a powerful performance poet based in London. Shie comes from a legal background and has completed the LLB, LPC and LLM.

Hussameddin Mohammad is an author, editor and translator of a selection of creative, political and autobiographical books including: Poisoned Kohl (Poetry and short stories), Introducing Slafoj Zizik (translation), Country of Words (translation and editing), A History of Injustice in the Arab World (editing). He is vice president of the Syrian Writers Association, managing editor of ‘Awraq’ magazine (London), founder of Al-Wa’I Publishing House and co-founder of the Syrian Journalist Association.

Edin Suljic grew up in the multicultural, multinational society of former Yugoslavia where he studied and worked in engineering and theatre. He moved to the UK at the onset of the 1991 Yugoslavian war. His creative output includes writing for and producing collaborative theatrical work, poetry, short stories and essays as well as photography and short films. His poetry has been published in various magazines and pamphlets in England and Ireland including Index On Censorship, The SHOp, Connections, Soul Immigrants and Finding a Voice.

Nada Menzalji is a Syrian poet and author. She studied at the University of Latakia, her hometown, but left Syria to live in exile in London since 1998, where she works as journalist. She taught Arabic language at SOAS for many years. Her published poetry collections in Arabic are “Withered Petals for Dinner” and “Thefts of a Nameless Poet” as well as many articles and poems published in prominent Arab papers. She is member of the Union of Free Syrian Writers. She has performed her work internationally.

Ghias Al Jundi was a journalist in Syria but was threatened by the regime because of his writing and involvement in human rights activism. He was tortured during five years as a political prisoner and fled to the UK in 1998. He himself has recently rescued refugees in Greece. While also writing poetry, he is a human rights advocate currently based in London. He has over twenty years’ experience working on the Middle East and North Africa for national and international organisations specialising in human rights and freedom of expression.
Audience response
Open Mic
Hosts: Malak Soufi and Jennifer Langer

Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
(Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)

£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact exiledwritersink@gmail.com


Exiled Writers Ink presents Free Monthly Poetry Workshops
for EWI Members

Learn a new skill each month

6 Poetry workshops
Starting on Wednesday January 24, 2018
6 to 8 pm
First Floor Studio, Poetry Society, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
(Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)
Register now: exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Offered by Catherine Temma Davidson, poet and experienced tutor.
Catherine Temma Davidson is a published poet, novelist and essayist who has won numerous awards for her work. She teaches at Regents University and has run writing workshops throughout the UK. She is on the board of Exiled Writers Ink.
Poetry Discussion, Writing Exercises, Feedback and Development.
Read the poems of writers from around the world, and respond to a poetry point and writing exercise inspired by the reading. Every month there will be a chance to create new work as well as an opportunity to share feedback and development insights on revised/drafted work.

Free for members of Exiled Writers Ink. http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk/membership/
If membership payment is a problem, please contact Jennifer in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Agit Lit Night

Words for the Silenced

An evening focusing on writing about and from those imprisoned in Iran, including the launch of the 2018 tour of ‘Nazanin’s Story’, the Howell Productions play about Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. In coordination with Amnesty International.

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Painting Afarin Rahmanifar, Unraveling Series, 2014, mixed media, 18” x 18”, from the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art

For the imprisoned in Iran, an evening of theatre, prose, poetry and action
Part I: ‘Nazanin’s Story’ Howell Productions

‘Nazanin’s Story’ is a 50 minute theatre piece based on the words and experiences of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who was imprisoned in Iran following a family holiday. Her plight became the focus of an international campaign, reaching the highest levels of the UK government. The story of her separation from her baby and husband, her imprisonment, and the fight to bring it to light, form the basis of the play, which will be performed live. ‘Nazanin’s Story’ was long-listed for Amnesty International’s Freedom of Expression Award and received a four star review in The Independent. Howell’s productions 2018 UK tour will begin with the Agit Lit performance.

Part II: Prose and Poetry

Nasrin Parvaz was born in Tehran, and became a civil rights activist. Imprisoned and tortured for her civil rights and women’s rights activism, she moved to the UK in 1993, where she was granted asylum. She has written a memoir based on her experience in prison, which was published in Italian in 2006. A noted short-story writer as well as poetry translator, her poems have been included in Over Land, Over Sea, Poems for those Seeking Refuge, published by Five Leaves in 2015. She will be reading from an English translation of her memoir.

Ziba Karbassi Born in Tabriz, north-western Iran, she had to leave the country as a teenager in the late 1980s. The author of ten books of poetry in Persian, two in English and Italian, she is widely regarded as the most accomplished Persian poet of her generation. In 2010 she won the Golden Apple Poetry Prize of Azerbaijan. Widely translated in many languages, her poems in English have appeared in Poetry Review and Modern Poetry in Translation. She was Chair of Exiled Writers Ink from 2012-14.

Simone Theiss blogs about human rights and freedom of expression under CiLuna27. She will be reading from a selection of poetry gathered by Nazanin’s husband, Richard Ratcliffe, from poets who are currently on the Women’s Ward of Evin Prison, some of whose words were shared at a vigil at the Iranian embassy on National Poetry Day, 28 September 2017.

Audience response & Amnesty Action
Host: Catherine Temma Davidson

Agit Lit Night –

Uncensored Women’s Words
An evening focusing on the diverse oppressions against women and their resistance to them.

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Painting: Zave Akram. By kind permission of Artiquea

An evening of prose, poetry, music and action

Hanna Ali is a writer, a poet, a Teaching Fellow and a PhD candidate in SOAS, University of London where she specialises in Afro-Arab identity. She is a former Radio Presenter who was recently listed as number 4 in Buzz Feed’s “21 Black British Muslims You Should Know About”. Her new collection of short stories speaks of all the complexities of Somaliness, blackness, womanhood, family and so much more. www.marketfiftyfour.com

Maria Bravo Calderara is a Chilean writer in exile. In the last three years she has become an important poet in her own country and some of her poems are on permanent display at the National Stadium. Her first poetry book in London, Prayer in the National Stadium (1992) won a GLC prize. In 1993 she published a book about Pablo Neruda’s poetry in Chile. Her short stories have recently been included in various anthologies published in Chile and in Spain while her poems have appeared in anthologies and periodicals published in the United Kingdom and continental Europe.

Mona Dash Originally from India, she writes poetry and fiction and her work has been published and anthologised widely. Her short stories have been shortlisted in Momaya Press Anthology 2015 and The Asian Writer 2016. Her first novel is ‘Untamed Heart’ (Tara India Research Press, 2016). She holds a Masters in Creative Writing from London Metropolitan University. With a background in Engineering and Management, she works full time in Technology.

Anba Jawi is a poet who writes in Arabic and English and publishes in an Iraqi daily newspaper Alaalem that circulates in Baghdad. Anba was one of the pioneering women geologists in Iraq. She holds a PhD from University College London and worked in the refugee sector for more than twenty years.

Consuelo Rivera is a teacher, sociologist, feminist lesbian scholar and narrative memoirist. An MA and PhD in Sociology/Women’s Studies, she has published articles in English and two books of poetry in Spanish (La Liberacion de la Eva Desgarrada and Arena en la Garganta). Currently doing an MA in Publishing at the University of Derby, she is co-author and editor of two anthologies in the series Wonder-Makers: Navigator of the Thames with the Hispano-American Women Writers on Memory group.

Open Mic – Audience response

Host: Jennifer Langer

Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX
(Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)

£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact n confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

IMPORTANT: This event will be at the Betsey Trotwood, 56 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3BL (nearest station: Farringdon)

This ‘Other’ English: Parallel Languages of Britain

Letter to friends_1Presenting writers and languages that are/were spoken within various British communities, some very much alive such as Welsh and Polish, some almost defunct such as Yiddish. Why do some writers choose not to learn or to write in the language of their parents and why do some only express themselves in their parents’ tongue?

Anna Blasiak writes poetry in Polish and in English. She translated over 40 books from English into Polish (mainly children’s books), as well as poetry (by Jastrzębska, O’Donnell, O’Mahony, Evans, Goldsworthy), some fiction from Polish into English (by Czubaj, Grzegorzewska, Krasnowolski. Malanowska, Odija, M.Szychowiak and Amiel [as Anna Hyde]), as well as poetry (by M.Szychowiak and Wiśniewski). She helps run the European Literature Network. More at annablasiak.com
Amarjit Chandan
Amarjit Chandan has published eight collections of poetry and five books of essays in Punjabi and his poems have appeared in anthologies and magazines world-wide. He has edited and translated into Punjabi about thirty anthologies of Indian and world poetry and fiction by, among others, Brecht, Neruda, Ritsos, Hikmet, Cardenal, Martin Carter and John Berger. His poems have been variously anthologised and broadcast – notably in All That Mighty Heart: London Poems, Edited by Lisa Rus Spaar, University of Virginia Press, 2008.

Sharon Morris
Born in west Wales, Sharon Morris trained at the Slade School of Fine Art, UCL, where she is currently a Professor. Her artworks include photography, installations, film-poems, and live performances with projections. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals including Poetry Review, Poetry London and Poetry Wales, and anthologies such as the Forward Book of Poetry, 2008, and Poetic Biopolitics, 2016. Her two poetry collections are False Spring, 2007, and Gospel Oak, Enitharmon Press, 2013. Her most recent work is The Moon is Shining on my Mother, poems and photographs set in west Wales, Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea and Enitharmon Editions, 2017.

Khayke Beruriah Wiegand is the Woolf Corob Lector in Yiddish at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (University of Oxford). She also works as a Yiddish teacher in London and leads a Yiddish cultural group, known as the London Yiddish Svive. For many years she has been writing poetry in Yiddish and has had her poems included in various Yiddish publications in New York, Paris, Florence and Jerusalem. Her first bilingual collection was Tsi hot ir gezen mayn tsig ? un andere lider – Have You Seen My Goat ? And Other Poems (H.Leyvik-farlag, Tel Aviv, 2012). Her second collection has just been published in two separate bilingual editions, Yiddish – English and Yiddish – Hebrew, is Kales-breyshis un andere lider – Kalat Bereshit and Other Poems (H.Leyvik-farlag, Tel Aviv).

Open Mic

Host: Edin Suljic poet from former Yugoslavia.
£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

The House of Narrative:
Palestinian Writers in the UK

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Painting by Nabil Anani, Zawyeh Gallery: www.zawyeh.net

Anwar Hamed was born in the West Bank in 1957, where he began writing and publishing his stories. In 1980 he moved to Hungary, and there he found a new audience for his work. He is the author of The Bridge of Babylon, Stones of Pain, Scheherazade Tells Tales No More, The Game of Love and Pride and Jaffa Prepares Morning Coffee. Hamed moved to London in 2004 and currently works as a journalist at the BBC. His novel Jaffa Prepares Morning Coffee takes place in the Palestinian city of Jaffa and the nearby village of Bait Dajan in the 1940s and was long listed for the 2013 International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) one of the most prestigious and important literary prizes in the Arab world.

Ahmed Masoud who grew up in the Gaza Strip, is a writer, director and academic, author of Vanished – The Mysterious Disappearance of Mustafa Ouda. He is founder of Al Zaytouna, a leading dance group in Europe, aiming to provide Western audiences with the opportunity to experience Palestinian culture through theatre, dance and music. Ahmed is a playwright who has written and directed a range of plays including Unto the Breach , an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry V set in Palestine, Walaa – Loyalty, on the Syrian crisis, The Shroud Maker and Camouflage, a comedy.

Ghada Karmi. Born in Jerusalem, she was forced to leave her home with her family as a result of Israel’s creation in 1948. The family moved to England in 1949. Her books include Married to Another Man (Pluto Press, 2007) and In Search of Fatima (Verso, 2002). She practised as a doctor for many years specialising in the health of migrants and refugees and subsequently held research appointments on Middle Eastern politics and culture at SOAS University of London and at Durham and Leeds universities. She led a major project on Israel-Palestinian reconciliation (1999-2001) and is currently a Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter.

Plus one writer to be announced.

Open Mic and participation

Host: Catherine Davidson: Poet and Exiled Writers Ink Chair
£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Hostile Environment

in words and music with amazing writers:
Inua Ellams – Amir Darwish – Zita Holbourne – Shamim Azad with translator Selim Jahan – visiting poet Salah Faik.
Guitarist/Singer Sheik Rana

Hostile environment

Inua Ellams
Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer.

Amir Darkish is a British Syrian published poet and writer of Kurdish origin who lives in London.

Zita Holbourne is a spoken word and performance poet, visual artist, curator and activist who is
an award winning trade union, community and human
rights campaigner and activist.

Sarah Faik is a prolifically published poet who was born in 1945 in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Shamim Azad is a bilingual author and one of the best known Bengali poets and storytellers in the UK. Her new book Ancestral Embryo is translated by Selim Jahan from her autobiographical novel “Bongshobeej’.

Selim Jahan is an author and economist. He translates from Bangla to English and vice versa.

Sheik Rana is a writer, songwriter and poet.

Open Mic and participation

Host: Shamim Azad: Writer
£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Exiled Writers Ink with Hikayetna (for the writers)

From Absence to Presence

exiled cafe

from the film ‘The Train’ by Koutaiba Al-Janabi
Monday 6th August 2018 at 7.30 pm
Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX (Nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)

An exploration of the ambiguous line between absence and presence
in Words, Film and Music

Writers: Haitham Hussein – Amir Darwish – Farrah Akbik
Film-maker: Koutaiba al-Janabi
Rubab musician: Milad Yousofi

Haitham Hussein
A novelist born in Amoudah, Syria in 1978, Haitham Hussein currently lives in London. He worked as an Arabic language teacher before leaving Syria in 2012. He has lived in UAE, Lebanon, Egypt, and Turkey. Hussein writes articles for several Arab periodicals and magazines and has a weekly column in Al Arab Newspaper issued in London. He is a member of the Society of Authors in Britain, Scottish PEN Club, and the Syrian Writers Association. His novel Hostages of Sin was translated into Czech by Yana Bergiska and published in Prague in 2016. His published novels include Aram – Descendant of Sorrows, Hostages of Sin and Horror Needle.

Milan Yousofi

cafe cafe

is a London based Rubab player, composer and music producer working in contemporary Afghan folk, world jazz and fusion music and promoting the precious sounds of Afghan’s musical traditions. He has performed at the Houses of Parliament, the British Museum, the White House, Victoria and Albert Museum, Festival Hall amongst others. He has composed for BBC programmes as well as for a number of films and theatre productions.

Farrah Akbik is a British Syrian poet based in London. She has performed her poetry to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugees.

Koutaiba al-Janabi was born in Baghdad, studied cinematography in Budapest and worked in the Hungarian film and television industry before relocating to London. He is now an independent prize-winning film-maker based between London and Baghdad. He has directed and produced his own films with his first feature film being ‘Leaving Baghdad’. Other films are ‘Still Life’. ‘Wasteland’,Baghdad Correspondent’, ‘Against the Light’, 7 Days with Gypsies’. The main themes in al-Janabi’s work are displacement, alienation and exile.

Amir Darwish is a British Syrian published poet and writer of Kurdish origin who lives in London. He will read from his forthcoming collection Dear Refugee to be published in 2019 (Smokestack). His previous work is Don’t Forget the Couscous (Smokestack 2015) and From Aleppo Without Love (2017).

Open Mic and participation

Host: Amir Darwish

£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Between Two Worlds

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Nick Makoha

Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX (nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)

Sarala Estruch was born to a French mother and Indian father. She is a writer, poet and Ledbury Emerging Poetry Critic. Her poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction and reviews have appeared in Wasafiri, The North, and Mslexia, among others. Her work has been commended for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize and the PBS National Student Poetry Competition. A pamphlet-length collection of her work appears in Primers Volume Three, Nine Arches Press (2018).

Nick Makoha fled Uganda’s civil war and Idi Amin’s tyranny as a boy. His debut collection Kingdom of Gravity was shortlisted for the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and nominated by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017. He won the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry prize and is the 2016 winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection Man.

Maria Jastrzębska was born in Warsaw, Poland and lives in Brighton. Poet, editor and translator, she co-edited Queer in Brighton (New Writing South 2014) and translated Justyna Bargielska’s The Great Plan B (Smokestack 2017). A new collection The True Story of Cowboy Hat and Ingénue is out this autumn (Liquorice Fish 2018). www.mariajastrzebska.wordpress.com

Abol Froushan is an Anglo Persian poet, translator and critic who is the Iran Editor of Poetry International Web. His published poetry is: A Language against Language, Exiled Writers Ink (English, 2008) and the bilingual volume, I need your desert for my sneeze, PoetryPub (in Persian & English, 2009). He has a PhD from Imperial College.

Music tba
Open Mic

Host: Aviva Dautch, poet and Exiled Writers Ink committee member.
£5 entry/£3 EWI 2018 members and asylum seekers.
If payment is a problem for asylum seekers, no problem: contact in confidence exiledwritersink@gmail.com

Voices of Resistance from
Latin America and Spain

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With a collective of writers belonging to SLAP:
Spanish and Latin American Poets and Writers

Music: Sofia Buchuck
Open Mic

Host: Sofia Buchuck, poet and musician/singer

On the Outside

The Exiled Viewpoint

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Poetry Cafe, 22 Betterton Street, London WC2H 9BX (nearest tube: Covent Garden or Leicester Square)

Homan Yousofi (poet)
Aydin Mehmet Ali (prose writer)
Afsaneh Gitiforuz (poet)
Jennifer Langer (poet)
Music to be announced

Homan Yousofi was born in Kabul and came to the UK in 1991 at a time when refugees were more warmly welcomed by this society. He grew up in London, spending much of his childhood and teens on Hampstead Heath – and later moved to Snowdonia, North Wales, to study creative writing. Once there he started leading creative writing workshops amongst the mountains and the lakes. His themes usually combine ideas of migration, postmodern identity and nature, and more recently is influenced by Buddhist ideas. He recently returned from Athens, working on zines and a book of haikus with a talented group of Afghan teenage girls at a large squat.

Aydin Mehmet Ali was born in undivided Nicosia. She lives between Cyprus and London where she sought refuge from a war; an unaccompanied minor. As an intellectual activist, writer, translator and educationalist, she established projects focusing on women and young people. She is the editor/author of: Turkish Cypriot Identity in Literature, Pink Butterflies/Bize Dair (short stories/poems), Turkish Speaking Communities and education – no delight and Forbidden Zones (short stories). Co-editor of forthcoming anthology, Writing Nicosia…. beyond barrier (Saqi, London, 2019). Director/Founder of Literary Agency Cyprus.

Afsaneh Gitiforouz from Shiraz in Iran, has been living and working in London since 2000. She began collecting her writings in 2014. These include a full-length novel as well as many poems in Persian and English, which she calls “two-liners”. In her writing she explores themes mostly related to women’s life in oppressive societies.

Jennifer Langer writes poetry focusing on outsiderness which has been published in various journals. She is editor of anthologies of exiled literature: The Bend in the Road: Refugees Writing (1997), Crossing the Border: Voices of Refugee and Exiled Women (2002), The Silver Throat of the Moon: Writing in Exile (2005) and If Salt has Memory: Jewish Exiled Writing (2008), all published Five Leaves. She holds a PhD in Iranian literature of exile and is a SOAS Research Associate.

Open Mic

Host: Abbas Faiz, Exiled Writers Ink committee member