Thursday May 3, 2012: Altered States of Somalia with Diriye Osman & Warsan Shire

Altered States of Somalia

with Warsan Shire & Diriye Osman

AFRICAN WRITERS’ EVENING (Country Series) featuring Diriye Osman & Warsan Shire
Thursday 3 May 2011, 7.20 pm (doors) 7.45 pm (start)
Blue Room, Spirit Level, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX
8.00 / 4.00 (conc/limted) [ BUY HERE ]


The descent of Somalia into civil war in the early 1990s and the subsequent waves of migration that followed, created some of the most travelled, most adaptable peoples in the world. You find people of Somali origin in Nairobi, Kenya, you find them in Maine, USA – and everywhere they end up, they evolve. On May 3 2012, African Writers’ Evening presents two incredibly talented emerging writers of Somali origin, Warsan Shire and Diriye Osman, reading poetry and prose that has stitched within it a shared heritage of shape-shifting, of migration, of being the outsider, of survival against all odds. Hosted by Nigerian poet and playwright, Inua Ellams.



Warsan ShireWarsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Canada and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Her first pamphlet, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth, was published in late 2011.

Diriye Osman by Oliver HickmetDiriye Osman is a Somali-born, British writer, visual artist and editor. His fiction and non-fiction has appeared in Kwani?, Prospect, Attitude and Time Out, amongst other publications. He is currently the deputy editor of SCARF Magazine, which is a literary and arts magazine that comes out annually. He also hosts a quarterly event at the Rich Mix Arts Centre in Bethnal Green under the banner, ‘Numbi: A Night of Afropolitan Funk,’ where spoken word artists, filmmakers, musicians, dancers and DJs perform together


Inua Ellams by Naomi WoddisBorn in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is a poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist and designer. His first book is the best-selling poetry pamphlet, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (2005) and his début play, The 14th Tale (2009), a partly autobiographical coming-of-age mono-drama, won a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Festival, toured, and ran at the National Theatre in 2010. His second play, Untitled (2010), toured in Autumn 2010. His latest pamphlet is Candy-Coated Unicorns & Converse All Stars and his new play, Black T-Shirt Collection, is currently touring in the UK.

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