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Migration & Diaspora Lit Fest Opening Gala: The author is absent



The Migration Collective welcomes you to the launch of the inaugural Migration & Diaspora Literature Festival, which will be followed by a reception.

‘The author is absent’ will showcase work by authors who were – or still are – unable to cross certain borders, even though their work could. Of our five confirmed writers, one languishes indefinitely in an Australian immigration detention centre, another was held arbitrarily in house arrest, while another cannot get a visa to visit the UK. Their works will be performed, in absentia, by an artist from the same country of origin.

This event highlights the materiality of borders and their everyday effects, and considers how this effects freedom of expression.

Writers whose works will be performed include –

– Behrouz Boochani (Iranian Kurdistan): Bezhrouz is an Iranian-Kurdish journalist, human rights defender, poet and film producer. His book ‘No Friend But the Mountains’ won the General Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards.

– Dareen Tatour (Palestine): Dareen is a Palestinian poet, photographer, and social media activist. Following the publication of a poem on social media, she was tried and convicted in 2018 in an Israeli court for “inciting violence” and “supporting a terrorist organisation”.

– Dhondup (Tibet): is a Tibetan poet in Paris whose work reflects on the complex theme of refugee identity.

– Xasan Daahir Ismaaciil ‘Weedhsame’ (Somalia): Weedhsame is widely regarded as one of the most promising young Somali poets of his generation. He currently teaches at the University of Hargeysa and has been denied visas to perform his work in the UK several times.

– Omar García-Obregón (Cuba): Omar is a poet and Professor of Hispanic Studies and Comparative Poetics at Queen Mary University of London, where he codirects the Centre for Poetry since September 2018. He has published 13 books, including 6 poetry collections to date. He is currently working on a bilingual project “Racializados / Racialized” on race, migration, and art, and is bringing attention to exile, migration and displacement through the arts.

Music to be performed by –

– Jali Bakary Konteh: kora player
– Ngawang: Tibetan musician and dranyen player

Followed by a reception in the hall of the National Maritime Museum.

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