EXILED WRITERS INK IN ASSOCIATION WITH ENGLISH PEN INVITES YOU TO AN EXCITING CON-FEST (CONFERENCE-FESTIVAL)
WRITING RESISTANCE: THE LITERATURE OF EXILE
THE VOICE OF EXILED WRITERS
Image: Maryam Ashrafi
Thursday 21st June 2007
The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA
COFFEE – 9.45 to 10.00
10.00 to 11.00 – OPENING SESSION
Exiled Writers in a Conflicted World
How do exiled writers negotiate and mediate conflicted internal and external spaces?
Readings and discussion by the writers:
11.00 – 12.15
The Eye of the Exile: Writing in the Exilic Space
Martin Orwin – Three Contemporary Perspectives of Exile in Somali Poetry
Omar Garcia – (Re)structuring communities: The Cuban Nation in Exile
Marta Niccolai – Representation of Post-Colonialism by African Exiled Writers in Italy
Predrag Finci – On Returning
LUNCH 12.30 to 1.30
1.30 – 2.45
Exilic Identity and Language
Chair: Fathieh Saudi
Ana de Medeiros -The Impossibility of Return: Voice, Language and Exile in Assia Djebar’s work.
Yang Lian – The Poetics of Lonely Resistance
Jacob Akol – Burden of Nationality: Memoirs of an African Journalist, Writer and Aidworker
3.00 – 4.15
Women Without Shadows: Women’s voices
Fadia Faqir – Shahrazad Strip-Searched
Aydin Mehmet Ali – Breaking Taboos
Rouhi Shafii – Censorship and Iranian Women Writing in Exile
TEA (4.15 to 4.45)
ALSO HAPPENING DURING THE DAY
11.00 to 12.30
Across the Divide of Individual and Collective Memory
Listen to a little poetry by Ziba Karbassi and Jennifer Langer, women with Muslim and Jewish backgrounds. Share their Box of Memories and bring your own. Create a collaborative Memory poem with a person from a different culture, country, language or background.
3.00 to 4.15
Voices of Passion!
Ney player Muniser Unver and poet Evlynn Sharp offer the words of Rumi and Ibn ‘Arabi with musical accompaniment.
Your imaginative response will be invited.
Be inspired by the beauty and universality of mystical poetry along with music of the Ney flute in this creative writing workshop.
THE CREATIVE SPACE (5 pm to 6.30)
Hosted by Richard McKane, poet and translator
Ziba Karbassi – Dance of Mourning and Poetry – Iran
Mir Mahfuz Ali – poet – Bangladesh
Hassan Bamyani – poetry and music – Afghanistan
Alfredo Cordal – performance poet – Chile
7 pm :
Exiled Writers Ink in association with Amnesty International
Writing Pain and Resistance in Exile
Once in the UK, exiled writers are not free of the shackles of the conflict and oppression prevalent in their country but remain intimately connected with the struggles, expressing their anger and pain through their art. Frequently this art serves to empower the artist through the voice of resistance but is it effective in shifting consciousness in the country of origin?
Exiled writers from Palestine, Iraq, Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan will read from their work and then discuss the issues.
‘In Memory of Darfur’ is a new musical composition with multi-media by the Sudanese musician: Ahmed A. Rahman.
See below for biographies
– Hamid Ismailov – Uzbekistan
– Ghada Karmi – Palestinian
– Fawzi Kerim – Iraq
– Hilton Mendelsohn – Zimbabwe
– Music and multi-media: Ahmed A. Rahman from Sudan
Expressions of Pain and Resistance in Exile
Ismailov’s novel, The Railway, originally written before he left Uzbekistan, was translated into English by Robert Chandler and was published in 2006. A Russian edition was published in Moscow in 1997. His forthcoming novel, will be entitled Comrade Islam and is about a poet in Uzbekistan who ends up in the Taliban’s ranks when the Americans bombarded Afghanistan. Born in 1954 in Kyrgyzstan, Ismailov is an Uzbek journalist and writer forced to flee Uzbekistan in 1992 when he came to the UK. He now works as head of Central Asia and Caucuses Service at the BBC World Service. His works are banned in Uzbekistan. He published numerous books in Uzbek, Russian, French, German, Turkish and other languages. Among them are collections of poetry: “Sad”(Garden)(1987), “Pustynya”(Desert) (1988), of visual poetry: “Post Faustum” (1990), “Kniga Otsutstvi ” (1992), novels “Sobranie Utonchyonnyh” (1988), “Le Vagabond Flamboyant” (1993), “Hay-ibn-Yakzan” (2001), “Hostage to Celestial Turks” (2003), “Doroga k smerti bol’she chem smert'”(The Road to Death is bigger than Death) (2005) and others. He translated Russian and Western classics into Uzbek, and Uzbek and Persian classics into Russian and some Western languages.
is a poet 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 non-fiction, 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).
Her memoir, is entitled In Search of Fatima: a Palestinian Story and her forthcoming book is Married to Another Man, Pluto, June 2007. She is a research fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, England. She was born in Jerusalem, but left with her family in 1948. She was brought up in Britain, and gained a doctorate in the history of Arabic medicine from London University.
was born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 1970 in a racially segregated country. He worked for the Zimbabwe Chronicle and his poetry and short stories were published in various periodicals. He moved to London in 1998, continuing to write and co-founding a group of exiled Zimbabwe writers ‘Writing Wrongs’. By this time the social and political situation in Zimbabwe had deteriorated with an escalation of the violent oppression of the opposition and many of his former colleagues were forced to leave the country. He began work with the opposition party ‘The Movement for Democratic Change’ and human rights organisations, ‘The Freedom for Zimbabwe Campaign’, ‘The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum’ writing and publishing articles critical of the Mugabe regime. He also co-founded the charitable organisation Weizimbabwe. He continues to write poetry and is working on a play to be staged at the Blue Elephant Theatre in London with the Writing Wrongs Group.
Ahmed A. Rahman
Cost of CON-FEST includes Middle Eastern lunch and evening event
– £10: students and unwaged,
– unemployed asylum seekers: free
To register, send a cheque made payable to:
Exiled Writers Ink
31 Hallswelle Road, London NW11 0DH
The evening event is free but needs to be booked in advance through Jennifer@exiledwriters.fsnet.co.uk
by Freddy Macha
Monday, 13 August 2007
London, Thursday, 21st, June 2007.
The hall is quiet.
The only sound is music. Music is food. Except?
Apart from the ongoing music we are being confronted with gloomy slides. Wailing women. Dead children. Dead camels and cows. Burnt houses. Withered men. Displacement. Corpses. Non-fictitious horror.
The morbid and inhuman face of Darfur.
You can hear him playing different instruments, saying nothing; the photographs speak loud and clear. This is the work of Ahmed Rahman a gifted musician from Sudan. See him in action, above, photo taken by Anne Marie Biscombe.
Rahman was part of a whole array of writers and artists invited to perform at the Human Rights Centre in East London on this special Thursday in June put together by Jennifer Langer of Exiled Writers Ink! An organisation of refugee writers. Her own family was expunged by the Nazis during the Second World War.
We heard powerful stories. It is arduous telling them all. Of a man who had been shot in the throat during a demonstration in Bangladesh. A passionate writer with a whispering voice, due to that fateful bullet wound.
Mir Mahfuz’s poem “Seeking Shelter” was recited to an attentive audience:
.”…He is an alien
On this barbaric shore,
Gazing into land
He doesn’t belong to,
But he has nowhere to go
Beyond this coast.”
Of Alfred Cordal the poet from Chile who ushered our souls back to the work of one of my favourite poets, Pablo Neruda. Neruda who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. Cordal, in a similar spirit, re-affirmed that words define our identity, woes, joys and self expression. There was a dance from Iran by Ziba Karbassi, the lady in red. Gallant, flowery, flamboyant, long, like Ziba’s graceful limbs.
How often do you hear pleasant stuff from Afghanistan? All we ever get are images of sad, veiled women, arid terrains, angry blokes, guns and bombings. Hassan Bamyami, offered us a taste of this troubled country’s music. He wailed. Jamaican singer, Bob Marley once said he began singing when he was born, by crying. Mr. Bamyami from Afghanistan reminded us of a birth.
Then it was time for Ahmed Rahman.
The other day I saw a poster that was calling for donations:
“If this Darfur woman doesn’t go to the well to get water his children will die; if she goes to the well she will be raped.”
You hear of bad things.
Then you meet those who have been there.
Ahmed Rahman’s music and huge kaleidoscopic reflections on the gargantuan screen were appalling. I followed him backstage.
“I knew most of these people.” Ahmed whispered, “It is very difficult…”
He excused himself and stepped away. It is very disturbing seeing a grown up man crying.
Here I was, witnessing a Darfur close up…