BOOK LAUNCH: EYES CLOSED BY SOLEIMAN ADEL GUEMAR
His new collection presents poems written in exile in the UK.
THE THEME FOR THE EVENING
WOMEN WITHOUT MEN AND MEN FOR WOMEN
MUSIC AND POETRY
Soleiman Adel Guémar was born in 1963 and raised in Algiers. He was heading for an army career when he quit his engineering studies to spend two years in Paris working in publishing. He returned to Algiers in 1991 amid signs of democratisation, in order to work as a journalist, initially on ‘L’Evènement’, and then freelance. During the Black Decade of violence following suspension of the 1991 elections, Guémar reported on corruption and human rights abuses, also publishing short stories and hard-hitting political poetry. In 2002, following threats to his life, he sought political asylum in the UK. He published the poetry collection STATE OF EMERGENCY in 2007, winning an English PEN award.
STATE OF EMERGENCY – Todmorden: Arc Publications, Visible Poets series #20. Introduction by Lisa Appignanesi. French poems with English translations by Tom Cheesman and John Goodby. EYES CLOSED – Swansea: Hafan Books. French poems with English translations by Tom Cheesman and John Goodby.
Music and Song by Isabel Ros
With two books published, Suhrab Sirat, is a writer, poet and civil society activist. He was born and grew up in northern Balkh Province of Afghanistan in 1990 and moved to the UK in 2014. He has a Bachelor in Persian Literature from Balkh University and has extensive experience working with prominent media and civil organisations. He worked for BBC World Service, Bost News Agency and Mandegar Daily in Afghanistan. Suhrab Sirat is the first literature prize winner of the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) for Women Rights 2009, and the first prize winner for Qand-e-Parsi, 2011, a prestigious literature organization in Persian speaking countries. He also composed lyrics for the first Afghan female rapper criticising patriarchy and extremism and promoted freedom and women’s rights.
Portrait of a Publisher credit: Victor Dlamini
Kadija Sesay, also called Kadija George is a literary activist, short story writer and poet of Sierra Leonean descent, and the publisher and managing editor of the magazine Sable LitMag. Sesay’s first full collection of poems, entitled Irki, was published in 2013. She is co-director of Peepal Tree Press’s writer development programme, Inscribe, alongside fellow poet Dorothea Smartt. Her work has earned her many awards and nominations. She is the General Secretary for African Writers Abroad (PEN) and organises the Writers’ HotSpot – trips for writers’ abroad where she teaches creative writing and journalism courses.
Mabel Encinas does not possess a very fixed identity. For this reason, and in spite of being part of two groups of poets and writers (Hispanic-American Women Literary Workshop and Spanish and Latin American Poets and Writers) she is sometimes a poet, and sometimes she identifies with other arts, trades and professions. What she is certain about is that she finds in poetry a path to process her experiences (together with laughter and tears), and to participate in the world. She also has a regular column in the electronic newspaper The Prisma, and she has been close to Exiled Writers Ink for some few years, both at the Poetry Cafe and co-facilitating workshops.
From Mashhad, Iran, she won the silver medal in the national Literature Olympiad in 2000. After graduating in sociology from Tehran University, Fatemeh pursued post-graduate studies in London and Oxford where she taught Persian language and literature. In the 2009 post-election turmoil, Fatemeh and her family were targeted by the state for supporting the Green movement. Fatemeh was then forced into exile. She won the Jaleh Esfahani poetry award for the best young Persian poet in 2012. Her first book of poetry was published in 2013 under the title of ’88’.