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Friday, September 17, 2010

Somali Women Writing the Diaspora: Literary Readings and Panel Discussion Presented Oct. 4 at Wellesley College

Two women writers from the Somali diaspora will read from their recent novels at Wellesley College
Monday, Oct. 4, at from 7-9:30 pm in the Newhouse Center for the Humanities in Green Hall. The panel discussion that will follow the readings will feature two academic perspectives on the topic, one from ethnic studies and one from conflict analysis and resolution. The events are free and open to the public.

Cristina Ali Farah will read from Madre Piccola (“Little Mother”), a novel about the Somalia experience in Italy, while Yasmeen Maxamuud will read from Nomad Diaries, a novel about a Somali apartment building in Minneapolis, Minn.

In the panel discussion, Jesse Mills, assistant professor in the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of San Diego, and Hussein Ali Yusuf, graduate student at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, will address aspects of the Somali diaspora experience from their own inter-disciplinary perspectives.

Cristina Ali Farah
Cristina Ali Farah
FLEEING WAR AND PERSECUTION: Cristina Ali Farah is a prize-winning novelist. Born in Italy to a Somali father and an Italian mother, she grew up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. She attended an Italian school there until the Somalia Civil War broke out in 1991. After having lived in Hungary and Verona, Italy, she obtained in 2001 an Italian Lettere University degree at La Sapienza University in Rome, where she currently resides. In 2006, she won the Italian national literary competition, “Lingua Madre” (Mother Tongue), promoted by the Women Thoughts Studies Center. She was also honored by the city of Torino at the International Torino Book Fair. 
Her book Madre Piccola is the story of two cousins who had last seen each other in 1991, as they had to flee Mogadishu and the good lives they had because of state collapse and clan-based persecution. The novel follows these women – as well as the men who share their lives – as they meet again in Italy after almost a decade. 

Yasmeen Maxamuud
Yasmeen Maxamuud
The book is a reflection of the hardship and trauma caused by the loss of a country and the distrust and hate among Somalis that are the legacies of 1991. However, it is also about how people, especially women, begin to overcome such trauma and distrust. The novel is, among other things, a bittersweet ode to motherhood.

IMMIGRANTS’ LIVES: Yasmeen Maxamuud is director of Building Bridges, a community development organization in San Diego. She is a writer and an editor for the largest online Somali magazine, Her book Nomad Diaries (Nomad House Publishing, 2010), is a novel about how a Somali immigrant family deals with their experiences as new residents of Minneapolis. Maxamuud has written widely about the lives of Somali women and has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. to find immigrant stories.

Jesse Mills
Jesse Mills
Nomad Diaries is a story of loss, despair and family bonds tested by the destruction of a country. Examining the human condition at its weakest, the book offers a slice of American immigrant life from the viewpoint of strong-willed women and rebellious teens.

REFUGEE YOUTH CULTURE: Jesse Mills has published several articles and book chapters, including “Uniting the Diaspora: Three Case Studies of Organizing Among Somali Refugee Youth” in the International Journal of Politics and Development (June 2010), “Shall We Aid Each Other or Part Company? Black Islamic Feminism, Somali Refugee Youth Poetry, and Anti-Racist Multiculturalism” in Philosophia Africana and more.

Hussein Ali Yussuf
Hussein Ali Yusuf
TOWARD CONFLICT RESOLUTION: Hussein Ali Yusuf is a Ph.D. student at the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University, where he is also program officer for the program Engaging Governments on Genocide Prevention. He earned a master’s in social work at the University of Michigan and worked with refugees in Yemen and with Doctors without Borders in Ethiopia before coming to the U.S.
Since 1875, Wellesley College has been a leader in providing an excellent liberal arts education for women who will make a difference in the world. Its 500-acre campus near Boston is home to 2,300 undergraduate students from all 50 states and 75 countries
Source: Wellesley College


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