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‘Catastrophe’ poetry poster illustrated by artist Bryan Talbot

Join the Poetry Translation Center and leading Somali poet Xasan Daahir Ismaaciil ‘Weedhsame’ this October. The PTC is publishing Catastrophe by Somali poet Xasan Daahir Ismaaciil ‘Weedhsame’ as an illustrated poem-poster, including a brand-new translation by BBC Radio 4 poet-in-residence Daljit Nagra and SOAS scholar Dr Martin OrwinCatastrophe is a howl of anguish about the migration of the Somali people. It offers a provocation to western Europe and a message of hope to all who have fled their homes to seek a better life across the sea. It is also an electrifying piece of writing by a rising star in Somali literature.  The PTC is very excited to bring Weedhsame to UK audiences, whose work will offer poetic insight into the Somali culture and language.

The publication of Catastrophe was made possible thanks to the people who supported our crowdfunding campaign. Thank you to everyone who helped!

You can order a copy of the Catastrophe poem poster, illustrated by artist Bryan Talbot, on the Poetry Translation Center’s website.

The PTC is very pleased to announce an array of readings and workshops with Weedhsame alongside his translators Daljit Nagra and Martin Orwin. The PTC has a long-established relationship with the Somali community and is glad to be working with Kayd Somali Arts and Culture again this year for Somali Week London, an annual celebration of Somali culture which is going from strength to strength.

Ilkley Literature Festival – Catastrophe Launch
The Playhouse, Ilkley
Sunday, Oct 15th 2017 at 1:30pm
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Daljit Nagra and Weedhsame will meet for the first time at Ilkley Literature Festival, as part of Weedhsame’s UK tour. They will be reading the poem ‘Galiilyo’ (‘Catastrophe’) in both Somali and English. This will be followed by a Q&A with Daljit, Weedhsame and bridge translator Dr Martin Orwin.

London – Pure Poetry: Somali Language Reading
Oxford House, Bethnal Green
Saturday, Oct 21st 2017 at 6:00pm
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This poetry event in London is dedicated to the rich oral traditions of the Somali language and presents a unique line-up of leading Somali voices. The evening will see the likes of Jama Kediye, Abwaan Mustafa Sh. Cilmi, Saciid Saalax and Weedhsame offering insightful readings in celebration of Somali culture and language.
Please note that this is a Somali language event.

London – ‘Catastrophe’ London Launch with Daljit Nagra
Oxford House, Bethnal Green
Monday, Oct 23rd 2017 at 6:00pm
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Come and hear acclaimed poets Weedhsame and Daljit Nagra read together for the London launch of  ‘Catastrophe‘, our latest publication. This powerful narrative poem, composed by Weedhsame in response to the mass migration of the Somali people, has been given new life in English by Daljit, working in collaboration with SOAS scholar Dr Martin Orwin.

The evening will be opened by Martin, who will introduce the poem to the audience, setting the stage for a reading by Weedhsame and Daljit. Their dual-language reading will be followed by a Q&A with Weedhsame, Daljit and Martin about their translation process. The night will be capped off with music performances by contemporary Somali vocalists Nimco Yaasiin and Nimco Dagan.

Bristol – Somali Festival Launch with Weedhsame and Martin Orwin
M Shed, Bristol
Friday, Oct 27th 2017 at 6:00pm
free event- reserve your tickets

Bristol Somali Festival is the sister festival to Somali Week in London. This year’s festival focuses on the concept of Identity, belonging and role of culture within the diaspora community.

Weedhsame and his bridge translator Dr Martin Orwin will give a bilingual reading of ‘Catastrophe’ as part of the launch of Bristol Somali Festival. This powerful narrative poem, composed by Weedhsame in response to the mass migration of the Somali people, has been given new life in English by Martin, working in collaboration with BBC Radio 4 poet-in-residence Daljit Nagra.

Other speakers include the founder of the Somali Museum in Minnesota (the first Somali museum outside of Somalia), Osman Mohamed Ali, SOAS senior lecturer Dr Idil Osman, author and critic Artan Mohamed, Transforming Archive trainee Abira Hussein, and community activist Zohar Kosar.

London – SOAS African Literature Conference featuring Wole Soyinka
Brunei Gallery / SOAS, London
Saturday, Oct 28th 2017 at 9:30am
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The event will mark 55 years since the first Makerere African Writers Conference, where leading figures such as Wole Soyinka, JP Clarke, and Ngugi wa Th’iongo were present, and for the first time since the end of colonialism African writings were properly recognised and celebrated. SOAS academics specialising in literary criticism, translation and African literature more broadly will host this celebratory conference at the SOAS Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre, with the support of the SOAS Centre of African Studies.

We are delighted that Weedhsame, a leading Somali poet of the new generation, will be reading his recent works at this landmark event, alongside his friend and bridge translator Dr Martin Orwin. See the complete list of speakers on the Poetry Translation Center’s website.