On March 4, 2019, The Poetry Cafe will host a five-part event focusing on poetry by four jailed writers — Ahmed Mansoor, Ashraf Fayadh, Galal El-Behairy, and Nedim Türfent — and, at the end, British-Syrian writer Amir Darwish:
The event, which starts at 7 p.m., will include readings, video, music, and will finish up with a performance by Darwish.
The schedule is about advocacy more than literature, but there will be literary art as well:
Part I: Ahmed Mansoor
Ahmed Mansoor is an Emirati blogger and human rights defender whose imprisonment – currently serving a ten year sentence has drawn attention around the world. To highlight his story, we will show a short excerpt of a film by Manu Luksch, who will appear in person to present to work. Afterwards, journalist Bill Law and human rights activist Drewery Dyke will share personal recollections and poetry in English and Arabic. Poet Albert Pellicer (Kingston University) will also read work in support of Ahmed Mansoor.
Part II: Ashraf Fayadh
Ashraf Fayadh is a poet and artist of Palestinian origins whose death sentence in Saudi Arabia has been commuted to 8 years in prison and 800 lashes. The subject of a worldwide reading at the Berlin International Literature Festival in 2016, our event will highlight his work, read in Arabic and English, by poet and translator, Jonathan Wright.
Part III: Galal El-Bahairy
Galal El-Behairy is an Egyptian poet and lyricist who has been imprisoned in Cairo since March, 2018. Sentenced by a military court for three years, he has case still pending for the lyrics of one of his songs. Songs with his lyrics will be featured along with his poetry.
Nedim Türfent is a journalist and poet currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for “terrorist activities” in Turkey. The subject of a campaign by English PEN, his poetry will be read in translation and the original Turkish by Ege Dündar. Poems in support of Nedim Türfent will be read by James Miller.
Part V: Amir Darwish
Amir Darwish is on the Board of Exiled Writers Ink. A British/Syrian poet of Kurdish origin, born in Aleppo in 1979, he came to the UK as an asylum seeker in during the Second Gulf War. He will be reading from his recently published memoir, From Aleppo Without Love.
The evening’s event will be ho-hosted by Simone Theiss and Catherine Davidson.
Fayadh’s collection Instructions Within, trans. Mona Kareem, was longlisted for the 2017 Best Translated Book Award. It’s available from The Operating System, and an excerpt can be read on Word Without Borders.
From Aleppo Without Love: A true story of anguish and despair by a boy from Aleppo was published by Salvation Press in 2017.
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