I remember a far cry, that called me
Like the echo of a ripple,
That brought tidings of safety.’
Mahmood was born in Iran and moved to Great Britain in 2000. He is involved in music, theatre and Artists in Exile, Glasgow. He has written a short play, ‘I Confess’ for The Arches. He is one of the writers featured in our translation booklets and the poem quoted above is reproduced in full on a postcard, one of a set associated with the booklet Between (see below).
All too often, writers are forced to flee their countries of origin, to escape persecution, imprisonment and even death.
Scottish PEN set up a Writers in Exile Committee in 2005 which -
ICORN’s aims are to provide homes and support for exiled writers and their families. Cities of Refuge already exist in Europe, Canada, USA and Latin America and it is hoped that Edinburgh or Glasgow will also be nominated as one.
Scottish PEN’s Writers in Exile committee organised 'Writing Home' for Refugee Week 2009 which invited contributions on themes of home and displacement. You can view the 'Writing Home' collection in the New Writing section.
WiE's translation workshops have sought to continue the initiative 'Create-Understand', which Simon Berry originated in 2004. A unique feature of this initiative was that it centred on reciprocal translation, with English-speaking PEN members not only helping refugee and asylum seeking writers to put their work into English but in turn having their own work translated into the language of the writer they were working with. An anthology of work resulting from this collaboration, Exile/Mergimtari was published by Survivors' Press and very successfully performed at the Arches venue.
Subsequent anthologies of reciprocally translated work published by Scottish PEN in association with Artists in Exile Glasgow have been:
Words Between Friends 2008
Between gave rise to a series of postcards featuring poems from the anthology by asylum seekers in the original language and in English and illustrated by artists from Artists in Exile Glasgow.
We hope to continue the translation initiative.
For more details of all publications see the attached file.
Latest news specific to Writers in Exile and general Scottish PEN news. See Events & News for all news.