Exiled Writers Ink at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival
Saturday 9th April at 7 pm by Zoom

Cheltenham Poetry Festival

Cheltenham Poetry Festival (sponsored by Jordans Solicitors) brings international poetry home to you.

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Saturday 9th April at 7 pm by Zoom

The Mirror Speaks: In Search of Ourselves, poets from Exiled Writers Ink


This thought-provoking event confronts the complex issue of identity, making comparisons between the sensibility of current refugees and that of a second generation daughter of German Jewish refugees.

Jennifer Langer, second generation poet, reads from her recently published poetry collection The Search and engages in discussion with current exiled poets: Amir Darwish from Syria, Parwan Fayyaz from Afghanistan and Alemu Tebeje Ayele from Ethiopia. Born of the history of loss, Jennifer snatches at fragments to create a narrative yet tensions arise from the diverse facets of her identity. How does an imagined family past contrast with the nostalgia and lived experience of current refugees? What is the role of second generation Postmemory and does the trauma experienced by refugees form their future identities? We will discuss all this and more.

Jennifer Langer’s recently published poetry collection is The Search (Victorina Press). She is founding director of Exiled Writers Ink which develops and promotes the creative literary expression of refugees and migrants and advocates human rights through literary activism. Jennifer is editor of five anthologies of exiled literature the latest being Resistance: Voices of Exiled Writers (Palewell, 2021). She holds a doctorate in cultural memory and exiled literature and a SOAS Research Associate. Jennifer’s parents fled from Nazi Germany and were the sole survivors of their families.

Amir Darwish
Amir Darwish is a British/Syrian poet of Kurdish origin. Born in Aleppo, he came to the UK as an asylum seeker in 2003. His collections of poetry are Don’t Forget the Couscous (Smokestack, 2015) and Dear Refugee (Smokestack, 2019) and his poetry has been widely translated. Amir holds advanced degrees in history, international relations, and creative and life writing. He is currently working on his doctorate in history.

Parwana Fayyaz
Parwana’s recently published poetry collection is Forty Names (Carcanet). She was born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1990 and from the age of seven to sixteen, she was raised in Quetta, Pakistan. She later undertook undergraduate studies in Chittagong, Bangladesh subsequently transferring to Stanford University and gaining a B.A. in Comparative Literature and Creative Writing (Poetry). She moved to Cambridge University to pursue a PhD in Persian Studies at Trinity College in September of 2016 and took up a Research Fellowship as the Carmen Blacker Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge University in October 2020.

Alemu Tebeje Ayele
Alemu is an exile journalist, poet, lyric writer, community activist and website campaigner based in London. He studied Ethiopian Languages, Literature and Journalism at the universities of Addis Ababa and Wales respectively. He was also awarded a Diploma in Education and Training at the University of Westminster. His poems have been published in many anthologies such as Swirl of Worlds, Forever Spoken, No Serenity Here’, and online and print literary magazines. His poem Greetings to the people of Europe!’ was projected on public buildings in Denmark, Italy, USA and UK by Jenny Holzer in 2017 and his first bilingual collection of poems was published in 2018. He also recently co-translated and co-edited, with poet Chris Beckett, the very first anthology of Ethiopian poetry in English, entitled Songs We Learn from Trees: An Anthology of Ethiopian Amharic Poetry.