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‘Partition is always going to be a thing that matters to me and influences me. When your people have gone through such historical violence, you cannot shake it.’
Rising to prominence as the co-creator of Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series celebrating friendships between women of colour, rising US poet and screenwriter Fatimah Asghar’s work reflects her experiences as a queer Muslim woman of Pakistani-Kashmiri heritage living in contemporary America.
Her debut collection If The Come for Us is a tender and arresting insight into the aggressive qualities of borders and the fragmented nature of diasporic identity, with the violent history of the Partition of India running through it like a scar. As the orphaned child of South Asian immigrants who experienced Partition first-hand, Asghar interrogates her own relationship with a distant homeland, and with an America she has always known, but in which she frequently finds herself rejected and displaced. Written in a time where immigration is vilified and the threat of a very tangible border between the US and Mexico looms, If They Come For Us is a punctual warning against the inevitable consequences of ignoring history.
Joined by poet Sandeep Parmar, whose own grandparents fled Partition in the 1960’s, and Inua Ellams, creator of Evening with an Immigrant, Asghar brings this stunning collection to the UK for the first time for a timely evening of live poetry and discussion.
Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, screenwriter, educator and performer. Her work has appeared in many journals, including Poetry Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed Reader, The Margins, The Offing, Academy of American Poets and many others. Her work has been featured on new outlets like PBS, NPR, Time, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and others. In 2011 she created a spoken word poetry group in Bosnia and Herzegovina called REFLEKS while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-genocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook After came out on Yes Yes Books fall 2015. She is the writer and co-creator of Brown Girls, an Emmy-Nominated web series that highlights friendships between women of color. In 2017 she was awarded the Ruth Lily and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and was featured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. Her debut book of poems, Today We’re American, is forthcoming on One World/ Random House.
Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist and designer. He was recently awarded the Liberty Human Rights Award for his one-man show, An Evening with an Immigrant in 2017. His current poetry collection is Afterhours (Nine Arches, 2017). His most recent play is Barbershop Chronicles which ran at the National Theatre.