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W@TC: The Making of a Poet: Five Years in Six Egyptian Prisons

Speaker

Mohsen Mohamed & Sherine Elbanhawy

Wednesday at the Center welcomes Mohsen Mohamed and Sherine Elbanhawy. For the first half of the discussion, Egyptian poet Mohsen Mohamed will describe the trauma that led to the publishing of مفيش رقم بيرد (Mafīsh raqam bīrudd/No One is On the Line), an award-winning volume of poetry written largely during five years of detention. He will touch upon the Egyptian penal system and aspects of visual and aural experience unique to incarceration. In the second half of the discussion, Sherine Elbanhawy, the translator of his work and founder of the literary journal Rowayat, will discuss the distinct challenges of conveying Mohsen's poetry (written in colloquial Egyptian Arabic) and outline the effects of political upheaval and authoritarianism on Egyptian literary life. Mohsen Mohamed is an Egyptian poet born in 1994. His first poetry collection about life in prison entitled مفيش رقم بيرد (Mafīsh raqam bīrudd/No One is On the Line) was published in 2020 by Dar El Meraya for Cultural Production, which won first prize for vernacular poetry at the Cairo International Book Fair as well as the Sawiris Cultural Award. Sherine Elbanhawy is pursuing a MA in Islamic Studies-Women and Gender Studies at McGill University. She holds a MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She's the founder of Rowayat, a literary magazine showcasing Egyptian writers. She translated Mohsen's poetry which was published by Laertes Press in 2023. Light refreshments will be provided.

Categories

Civic Engagement/Social Action, Human Rights, Humanities, Lecture/Talk, Middle East focus