Annemari de Silva, MA South Asian Area Studies
Amidst the bright lights and constant traffic of Covent Gardens lies a small café nestled on a side street. The Poetry Café catches you off guard, easy to miss unless you know what you’re looking for, or are determined enough to resist the brighter façades elsewhere and wander down dimly lit streets. It’s a small café, serving wine, with a room downstairs. This is where the Exiled Writers Ink gather together every first Monday of the month to share their poetry.
Exiled Writers Ink was founded by Jennifer Langer, who completed her doctorate in literature at our very own SOAS earlier in the 2000s, researching literature written by Iranian Jewish women in exile. She is currently a post-doctoral associate for the SOAS Centre for Gender Studies.
Exiled Writers Ink brings together poets of past or present refugee status, asylum seekers and others who have sought exile in England in some form or the other to escape danger at home. Each night brings together about 4-5 poets of varied backgrounds and histories. The writers are all of some renown, with publications in their mother tongues, translations, and in English. The evening ends with an ‘open mic’ session, inviting poets in the audience to share their work. It’s a night of good poetry but also a great way to hear the affective narratives of war, persecution, family, flight, and emotional experiences that accompanies a refugee from home to home.
For more information about Exiled Writers Ink check out http://www.exiledwriters.co.uk. They do a series of publications, poetry competition call-outs, refugee-aid events, and info about the line-ups for the upcoming Exiled Poets Café segments. Currently, they’re looking for book donations to supply to a library at the refugee camp in Calais – do help!