The Political is not the Personal


Serbian poet: Sonja Besford

Sonja Besford was born in Belgrade. In Serbian she has published two books of poetry, two collections of short stories and a novel. In English she is the author of two plays, several short stories, poems and many reviews of contemporary literature. Her first poetry collection written in English is entitled ‘Arrivals and Departures’. Her new collection is entitled ‘memories of summers in brist near gradac’, (Ambit Books)

Iraqi poet: Fawzi Kerim

Poetry read by and translated into English by the poet: Anthony Howell

Fawzi Karim was born in Baghdad in 1945. In 1968 he graduated from the University of Baghdad and published his first poetry book Haith Tebda’ al-Ashia’a (Where Things Begin). He migrated to Beirut in 1969, where he published his second collection Arfa’au Ydi Ihtijajan (I Raise My Hand in Protest). He returned to Baghdad and published his third collection Junun min al-Hajar (Madness of Stone), and two books of nonfiction, one on exile and the other on the Iraqi author, Admon Sabri. In 1978, he migrated to London where he still lives. In exile, he published three more books of poetry. His Selected Poems was published in 1995 in Cairo. In 2000 his Complete Poetry was published in Damascus by Dar al-Mada. In addition to his regular writing for newspapers on classical music and on painting, he edits his own quarterly al-lahdha al-Shi’iria (Poetic Moment).

Anthony Howell was born in 1945. After an early spell dancing with the Royal Ballet, he decided to concentrate on poetry and performance art. In 1973 he was invited to the International Writing Program in Iowa and in 1974 he founded The Theatre of Mistakes, a performance company which made notable appearances at the Cambridge Poetry Festival, The Paris Biennale and the Hayward Gallery as well as in New York. He has published six previous books of poetry and a novel and received major bursaries from the Arts Councils of England and Wales. In 1997 he was short-listed for a Paul Hamlyn Award. His book The Analysis of Performance Art: a guide to its theory and practice is a key text in the field of performance art.

Israeli songwriter-guitarist: Arnon Zohar Naor, who also teaches film studies

Mountain Poetry of Exile


Indian poet exiled in Nepal launching

‘Way to Everest: a photographic and poetic journey to the foot of Everest’

Recipient of fellowships and grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, Irish Literature Exchange, The Institute for the Translation of Hebrew Literature and The Foundation for the Production and Translation of Dutch Literature, Yuyutsu RD Sharma is a distinguished poet and translator. He has published six poetry collections, including, The Lake Fewa and a Horse: Poems New (Nirala, 2005) and a picture book, www.WayToEverest.de: A Photographic and Poetic Journey to the Foot of Everest, ( Epsilonmedia , Germany , 2006) with German photographer Andreas Stimm. He has translated and edited several anthologies of contemporary Nepali poetry in English and launched a literary movement, Kathya Kayakalpa (Content Metamorphosis) in poetry. Yuyutsu’s own work has been translated into German, French, Italian, Hebrew, Spanish and Dutch. He lives in Kathmandu where he edits Pratik, A Magazine of Contemporary Writing and contributes literary columns to Nepal ’s leading dailies, The Himalayan Times and The Kathmandu Post. He is completing his first novel.

Nepalese musicians: Bishwo Shahi and Prabin Tamang


‘Modern Kurdish Poetry’
ed. Kamal Mirawdeli and Stephen Watts

A rare collection of Kurdish twentieth-century poetry translated into English for the series Endangered Languages and Cultures. Thirty Kurdish poets, from Haji Taufiq Peeramerd and Abdullah Goran to Sara Faqé Khidir and Choman Hardi, are represented. An introduction to Kurdish literature has been authored by Rafiq Sabir.

Stephen Watts is a poet and editor, much involved in translation studies. His own poetry has been published as The Lava’s Curl (1990, repr. 2002) and Gramsci & Caruso, Selected Poems 1977-1997 (2003) as well as a bilingual selection of his work in Czech translation. He has co-edited Voices of Conscience : Prison Poems (1995), Mother Tongues: Non English-Language Poetry In England (2001) and Music While Drowning : German Expressionist Poems (2003) and has compiled a very extensive bibliography of 20th century poetry in English translation. His interest in Hungarian poetry is long-standing.

Chaired by: David Clark of Exiled Ink magazine

Memories, Myths and Migrations:

Poetry and Music from Sri Lanka, Ireland and beyond


Sri Lankan poet Pireeni Sundaralingam and Irish composer/violinist Colm O’Riain weave together poetry and music in a series of duets exploring the rich interconnections between a host of lyric traditions, including Irish ballad and Indian raag.

The Eye of the Storm:

Exiled male and female writers from Iraq, Pakistan, Cyprus and Kurdistan speak out about gendered violence

Samira Al Mana was born in Basra, Iraq and is author of five novels, a play and collections of short stories. Her new novella is entitled The Oppressors and her novel Umbilical Cord was recently translated into English. She was the deputy editor of Alightrab Al-Adabi, a magazine of exile.

Nazand Begikhani was born in Iraqi Kurdistan. She is the founding member and co-ordinator of the organisation ‘Kurdish Women’s Action against Honour Killing’ (KWAHK) and the International Kurdish Women’s Studies Network and has published many articles on gender issues. Her first poetry collection Yesterday of Tomorrow was published in Paris in 1995 and her second poetry collection will be published in the near future.

Mahmood Jamal was born in Lucknow in India in 1948 and his family, like many Muslim families, moved to Pakistan. He is a progressive poet, filmmaker and translator who writes in Urdu and English. His latest collection of poetry Sugar-Coated Pill was launched in June 2006 and his other books include Modern Urdu Poetry and Silence Inside a Gun’s Mouth. He has been published in a wide range of anthologies, had his work broadcast on radio and TV, and been translated into several languages.

Aydin Mehmet Ali was born in Cyprus. Her writing has been characterised as ‘breaking taboos’ with her short stories having appeared in numerous publications. Publications: Turkish Speaking Communities & Education – no delight (2001), editor of Turkish Cypriot Identity in Literature (1990) and contributor to Weeping Island, a recent collection of Cypriot writers living in Cyprus and the Diaspora.She set up FATAL (For the Advancement of Turkish-speakers Arts and Literature) which includes Cypriot, Turkish and Kurdish artists and writers.

Roaring from the Top of the World: Exiled Writers Speak from Norway

Chenjerai Hove of Zimbabwe is a poet, an essayist and an award-winning novelist. He is currently the International Cities of Refuge Network guest writer in Stavanger, Norway.

Mansour Koushan of Iran is a former guest writer of Stavanger. A prolific poet, playwright, director and novelist, he worked to establish the independent Writers’ Association in Iran.

Mansur Rajih of Yemen is a poet whose work had to be smuggled out of his prison cell for 15 years. A former guest writer of Stavanger, he is currently working on his fifth poetry collection.

Moderator for the evening: Ren Powell, an American poet, translator and essayist; Project Coordinator for ICORN and Stavanger’s City of Refuge Center.

An evening of poetry, storytelling and music
MC: Soheila Ghodstinat


Valbona Bashota: A Kosovan Albanian who arrived in the UK in 1994, Valbona has won numerous prizes for her poetry. She works as a freelance journalist.

Sofia Buchuck: Born in Cusco, Peru, her collection of poetry is entitled Al otro lado de America (At the Other Side of America). Her poetry has been published in a range of anthologies. Since 1991 she has performed Latin American music at festivals and concerts in the UK and Latin America and in 2000 ‘Girl of the Rain Forest’ was released.

Nela Milic: Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Nela is a visual artist and a short story writer.
Sifundo Msebele: established performance poet
Mohammed Bashar Al-Hueidi: Born in Damascus, Syria, Mohammed emigrated to the UK in 1991.
Tenzin Tsundue: Tibetan poet in exile in India where he has been well published. He is on his first visit to Europe.
‘Get Creative’
‘Exiled Ink!’ magazine for sale

Awakening Love:

contemplative poetry and music inspired by mystical poets

An event that offers the mystical poetry of Rumi and Hafez in Dari/Farsi and in English with musical accompaniment. Original translations of the poems have been made by Karim Haidari and Evlynn Sharp. The poems will be read by Karim, Roohi and Evlynn, with original music by Melanie Reinhart. Melanie’s ragas on harmonium and tampura combine with the poetic voices and tune to the spiritual perfection of the poetry. This shared adoration of the poetry of Rumi and Hafez has led to Awakening Love – a new CD recording of the poems in Dari/Farsi and in English, and with music.

Karim Haidari was born in Afghanistan and adores Rumi and Hafez. He is a poet and playwright, and writes articles for various journals.

Roohi Hasan Majid was born in Pakistan and is a student of Sufism. She is a poet who writes in Urdu and English.

Melanie Reinhart was born in Zimbabwe and deeply loves contemplative music. She is an astrologer and author of several books. Visit: www.melaniereinhart.com

Evlynn Sharp was born in Scotland and loves mystical poetry. She is a poet and dramatist, and runs creative writing projects in the community.

Contact Karim and Evlynn via: admin@blueglassrabbit.com

Waste of Space

Abdel-Mitaal Gershab
Amanda Sanders with 2 other players: Gadje Juerga (non-gypsies Jamming)
Shadab Vajdi

Organised and chaired by Ghias Aljundui

Exiled African Writers

Brian Chikwava, Caine Prize Winner, 2004 (Zimbabwe)
Francis Akpata, (Nigeria)
Suleiman Addonia (Eritrea/Ethiopia)

MC: Isabelle Romaine

‘Returning Home’

Miriam Frank (Latin America)
Lorraine Mariner (England)
Aamer Hussein (Pakistan)
Steve Griffiths (Wales)
and other exiled writers

Exiled Writers Ink and Windows for Peace invite you to:


Moris Farhi is the Turkish born Jewish author of the novel ‘Young Turk’ as well as of The Last of Days, Journey Through the Wilderness and Children of the Rainbow. For over twenty years, under the auspices of English PEN and International PEN, he has campaigned on behalf of writers persecuted or imprisoned by repressive regimes throughout the world, for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Fadhil As Sultani the poet, has published a collection entitled ‘Burning in Water’. He is editor of the literature section of the Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awsat.

Raphael Luzon – Jewish Libyan born former journalist forced to flee from Libya

Sawsun Sabuh – Syrian poet (further details to follow)

and Floor spots after the coffee break
please contact: jennifer@exiledwriters.fsnet.co.uk or register on the night.

Chairs: Jude Bloomfield of Windows for Peace and Jennifer Langer of Exiled Writers Ink
www.exiledwriters.co.uk and www.win-peace.org

From: The Guardian – Saturday February 11, 2006

The Middle East comes to London
Aida Edemariam

The Poetry Café in Covent Garden is a cosy place, a calm time-warp of clear-faced students, murmuring couples, tiny tables and red wine; poetry-related newspaper clippings adorn the wall. There are regular readings in the room downstairs, which was cramped this week in anticipation of four writers from across the Middle East. The Danish embassy in Iran was being firebombed as they spoke, and reality couldn’t help but intrude, despite pleas from a moderator for more imaginative fare after the first contributor, Libyan Jew Raphael Luzon, focused on politics. He was followed by Fadhil as Sultani, an Iraqi-born poet who has translated William Trevor and Toni Morrison into Arabic, is tackling English poets from 1952 to 2000, and read a tribute to the founder of Iraqi free verse followed by addresses to Van Gogh and RS Thomas: “Like you, I sometimes hear the fluttering of swans on an unknown sea … sometimes, like you, I hear in the middle of the night mysterious music, and a voice summoning me.” Impac-longlisted Moris Farhi, who left Turkey for England at 19, read a thinly fictionalised injunction to multi-ethnic tolerance and was followed by Ghias al Jundi, an exiled Syrian who had cheered when the Danish cartoons were published but was dashed down by the “biggest disaster” when the protests began. His poems were full of details – the floor of the university library where he used to hide to kiss his girlfriend, the “smell of words on clothes” – and finally, “I met a girl from the Czech Republic on the number 36 bus, and I don’t know why, but she asked me about love,” was the introduction to one poem, which ended: “In this vague future, I forget myself.”

‘The Outsiders’

Everyone welcome to perform their work.
Chaired by Mir Mahfuz Ali