Tuesday 13th February at 7 pm
The Present Cannot Breathe: A time of Wars
image: Ze Tubia
How do writers respond? How can we write or think about disaster when it defies speech, compels silence and shatters meaning? Can poetry offer consolation? Can it turn darkness into light?
Featuring Atef Alshaer, Aviva Dautch,
Chris Beckett, Adnan Al-Sayegh with
Stephen Watts, Marsha Glenn
plus audience discussion
Adnan Al-Sayegh was born in al-Kufa, Iraq in 1955. His poetry denounces the wars and the dictatorships. Adnan has published twelve collections of poetry, including Uruk’s Anthem (Beirut 1996) and The Dice Of The Text (Beirut, Baghdad 2022). He left his homeland in 1993, lived in Amman, and Beirut then took refuge in Sweden in 1996. Since 2004 he has been living in exile in London. He has received several international awards, and has been invited to read his poems in many festivals across the world. His poetry had been translated into into many languages.
Atef Alshaer writes and translates poetry and is a Senior lecturer in Arabic Studies at the University of Westminster. He was educated at Birzeit University in Palestine and the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, where he obtained his PhD and taught for a number of years. He is the author of several publications in the fields of language, literature and politics, including Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World, 2016; The Hizbullah Phenomenon: Politics and Communication (with Dina Matar and Lina Khatib), 2014; A Map of Absence: An Anthology of Palestinian Writing on the Nakba, 2019; Love and Poetry in the Middle East (editor) and Language and National Identity in Palestine: Representations of Power and Resistance in Gaza. Alshaer regularly contributes to academic and media outlets.
Chris Beckett grew up mostly in Ethiopia.. He has won numerous prizes including the International Poetry London Competition in 2001. Sketches from the Poem Road, a collaboration with his partner, Japanese artist and sculptor Isao Miura, was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2015. Carcanet has published two collections of poems about his boyhood in Ethiopia, Ethiopia Boy (2013) and Tenderfoot (2020). Carcanet also published the first ever anthology of Ethiopian Amharic poetry in English, Songs We Learn from Trees, which Chris translated/edited together with Alemu Tebeje. Songs was a finalist in the 2021 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry.
Aviva Dautch Her poems have appeared in publications including Ambit, Acumen, Modern Poetry in Translation, The North, The Rialto, The Spectator and The Poetry Review. Residencies and commissions include The British Museum for Refugee Week (2021), The National Gallery (2022) Hay and Bradford Literature Festivals for the Gustav Klimt Centenary (2018) and the Picasso Centenary (2023). She is the resident poetry expert on the BBC Radio 4 series “On Form” and the literary co-translator for BBC World Service Journalist Suhrab Sirat; her translation of his book-length poem The Eighth Crossing about his refugee journey from Afghanistan was published by Exiled Writers Ink in 2021.
Marsha Glenn is from Bangladesh where she worked as a journalist. She is a member of the Freedom from Torture creative writing group Write to Life. She worked with journalist and writer Simon Hattenstone and The Guardian during her involvement in the Refugee Journalism Project 2018-2019. She has been published in Welcome to Britain: An Anthology of Poems and Short Fiction in 2023, Exiled Ink magazine and The Guardian online feature section. She has performed for NW Live Arts, Together Productions, Victoria and Albert Museum and fundraising events of several charities for the wellbeing of refugees in the UK.
Stephen Watts, poet and editor, will be reading Al-Sayegh’s work in English.
Hosted by Jennifer Langer
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pay on the door – cash only
£6 or £4 for EWI 2024 members
Betsey Trotwood pub
56 Farringdon Road
London EC1R 3BL
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