Project Description

Andréana Lefton


Andréana Lefton grew up in the United States and Israel, and now lives in London. She spent time with the Bedouin in the Negev and Sinai Deserts, and the Roma in Hungary. These experiences opened her eyes to people who have been marginalised for centuries, yet have so much to offer. In 2010, she won a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship due to her concern for literacy among Europe’s largest and most disadvantaged minority, the Roma. While completing her MSc at the London School of Economics, Andréana provided arts and literacy mentorship to Roma children in East London.

Currently, Andréana is learning how journalism and documentary filmmaking can be used as tools for social justice. She has contributed to documentaries for National Public Radio, the Guardian, and the BBC. She is now working with journalist and filmmaker Maziar Bahari on a documentary about the persecution of Baha’i university students in Iran.

Andréana is also an Associate Artist with Eastside Educational Trust and runs workshops on journalism, poetry, and creative writing for children and teens. Her poetry and essays have been recognised by several awards including The Atlantic magazine’s Student Writing Contest, the Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics, and the Bernard Levin Award for Journalism. For more information and examples of her work, please visit


On this, first morning of my life,

hosannas are not enough.

I walk and walk,

up streets with Jewish names,

down streets with Arab names –

all in celebration of great poets

or killers.

Men who were both poets and killers.

May my pen draw blood and pour wine.

I walk through old monuments,

tombs of alabaster, car soot.

Slogans half hid

behind green bombs of melon,

grenades of black and purple grapes.

In the end, who will history anoint?

I forget who was Isaac, who Ishmael.

I walk and walk,

forgetting my own language, my alphabet,

the one carried by Phoenicians

from port to port –

trading letters aleph bet

that were rounded like stones

by a lapidist alif ba

and passed from mouth to mouth

until they lost all but essence a b

and continue to be worn and smoothed,

until, as jewels,

only their memory is left –

as I limp through harbours,

the bilge of refugees –

in this, last moment of the day,

when the sky burns purple

and the ocean breaks black,

when the streetlamps tremble and,

all around,

the noise of guns and worship –

Selah. Enough.


Andréana Lefton,
“Let a man in a garret but burn with enough intensity and he will set fire to the world.” ~ Saint-Exupéry