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Book Launch – In conversation with Nuruddin Farah and readings of newly translated Somali works

Somali culture has two lives. It lives both in the Somali language and in translation. It comes from Somali people writing in many different languages and making connections between Somali culture and the wider world.

From the launch of the Somali translation of From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah to performances by a Somali poets, both from the Somali territories and living in the UK, this event will showcase the literary work of Somali artists and the translators who have brought their work to a larger audience. This event is the result of a partnership between Africa Writes (the Royal African Society’s literature and book festival), Poetry Translation Centre (PTC) and Somali Week Festival.
Panel 1:  Book launch and  in Conversation with  Nuruddin Farah & Abdisalam Hereri.

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah was first published in 1970. It tells a coming of age story about a young nomad woman escaping an arranged marriage. Farah wrote the book in English while studying in India. After the novel was published in Europe,Nuruddin Farah quickly gained international acclaim, but his work was never available in Somali.

During a book tour in Europe during the 1970’s Farahwas warned that Somali authorities planned to arrest him. Since then he has lived abroad, writing many more novels in English and becoming a leading figure in Somali Studies. After 46 years, From a Crooked Rib has now been translated into Somali by the a renowned TV and radio producer, AbdisalamHereri.

Somali Week Festival is proud to celebrate this achievement by inviting Nuruddin Farah &AbdisalamHereri to launch theSomali translation ofFrom a Crooked Rib at the festival. Nuruddin Farah and  AbdisalamHereri will be joined by MaxamedXasan ‘Alto’ and Martin Orwin, both of whom have translated Somali poets with the Poetry Translation Centre, for a discussion of Somali culture and translation.

Panel 2: Somali Poets – Readings and Panel Discussion

This evening will continue with readings of Somali poetry from poets living in the Somali territories and based in the UK. The poems will be read in Somali by the poets and in English by their translators. After the readings the poets and translators will hold a discussion of Somali poetry and translation, relating their different perspectives as poets and translators from different backgrounds working in different traditions.

Poets Cabdulqaadir Cabdi Shube and MahamedMahamudYasiin “Dheeg” who live and work in the Somali territories will launch their newly translated poems. The English versions have been prepared by Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ and English poet Bill Herbert thanks to our collaboration with the Poetry Translation Centre. Alto, a Somali translator and journalist and Bill have worked on many translations of Somali poets together, including poems by Hadraawi and Garriye.

They will perform alongside Caasha Lul Mohamad Yusuf and Clare Pollard. Caasha grew up in Somalia but has lived in the UK since 1990. She is fast emerging as one of the most exciting young poets living in the Somali diaspora. Caasha, Clare, and Alto have worked together for years translating Caasha’s poems from Somali into English and their collaboration continues.

These poets will be joined by Elmi Ali, a British-born Somali writer, and spoken-word artist based in the North-West of England. He has performed his work in the Power House Library in Mosside and at the British Library, as part of the Africa Writes festival. He has been published in Sable15 and Critical Muslim.

The Participants

Nuruddin Farah is a world renowned, prize winning Somali novelist. Writing in English, Farah established his international reputation in 1970 with his first novel From a Crooked Rib. Farah lived in self-imposed exile for 22 years after the publication of his second novel A Naked Needle. Since then he has lived and worked away from his homeland as a novelist, playwright and leading figure in Somali Studies. He has said he sees his work as an attempt “to keep my country alive by writing about it”.

Caasha Lul Mohamad Yusuf is fast emerging as one of the most exciting young poets living in the Somali diaspora. Like all Somalis, Caasha grew up in a culture steeped in poetry and while she was young she started to compose her own poems. Her work began getting published on Somali websites in 2008 and, since then, she has rapidly garnered a great deal of praise for her ability to infuse her poetry with fresh imagery enlivened by telling details. Caasha came to the UK in 1990 having fled the Somali Civil War. She now has three children, a steady job, and a growing career as a poet.

Mahamed Mahamud Yasiin “Dheeg” is a poet, first generation Somali playwright, and songwriter, born and bred in the suburbs of Hargeysa district, Somaliland. He is a former member of the first artist troupe established in the city in the early 50s called WalaalahaHargeysa. His literary production is acclaimed for its variety and combination of the serious poetic style conforming to tradition, and the modern song poem known for its captivating appeal and easiness. Dheeg is a symbol of the older generation and its passion for poetry, but also an entertainer who appeals to the young urban middle classes.

Cabdulqaadir Cabdi Shube was born in the Nugal region, and raised in a nomadic area. He comes from a long line of poets who are popular for preserving the tradition of their ancestors.He was also member of Horseed band, and his artistic work touched on many topics, including politics, peace, and reconciliation. He currently lives with his wife and children in Garoowe.

Elmi Ali is a writer, performer/facilitator based in the North-West of England. He writes poetry, short fiction and for the stage. His performances have been received in venues across the country from the Power House Library in Mosside to the British Library. His latest work is published in Sable15 and Critical Muslim 13 respectively.  He facilitates voicing it, a weekly Creative Writing Lab at Contact Manchester and is associate editor at Scarf Magazine.

Maxamed Xasan ‘Alto’ was born in 1960. He studied in Somalia and Soviet Union and has an MA in Journalism. Since 2004 he has been a teacher in Somali language at SOAS London. He is a writer and freelance journalist and has published and edited many books in Somali language. He has worked closely with Dr Martin Orwin on a number of Somali poetry translation and is closely involved with the Poetry Translation Centre.

W.N. Herbert is an acclaimed UKpoet. His most recent collection, Bad Shaman Blues(Bloodaxe, 2006), was shortlisted for the TS Eliot and Saltire Prizes. He’s currently working on a book of translations of contemporary Chinese poetry with Yang Lian. Bill is based in Newcastle.

Clare Pollard received an Eric Gregory Award in 2000 and was named by The Independent as one of their ‘Top 20 Writers Under 30’. Her first poetry collection, The Heavy-Petting Zoo, was published in 1998 and her second and third collections, Bedtime and Look, Clare! Look!, were published in 2002 and 2005 respectively.
As a writer, Clare is very concerned with bearing witness to the times in which we live. Her work has frequently engaged with contemporary concerns, from our confessional media culture in Bedtime to climate change in her play The Weather and globalisation in Look, Clare! Look!.  If you are able to attend please buy a ticket here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/book-launch-in-conversation-with-nuruddin-farah-and-readings-of-newly-translated-somali-works-tickets-27540815320?utm_term=eventpage&invite=MTA2OTYzNDgvYWRhbS5tYXRhbkB0aGVhdG0ub3JnLzA%3D&utm_campaign=inviteformalv2&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&ref=enivtefor001