Skip to main content

The Queen Mary Comparative Literature Forum 2020, featuring Momtaza Mehri, Stephen Watts, and Belinda Zhawi

When: Thursday, November 26, 2020, 5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Where: Online (Book via Eventbrite for the link)

‘Global Grammars, Local Accents: London’s Diasporic Poetry’

green and white poster for the forum








Join us for the inaugural QMUL Comparative Literature Forum, an evening of readings and reflections in which poets Momtaza Mehri, Stephen Watts and Belinda Zhawi will share readings and reflections on the diasporic and multilingual poetries of London.

This event will bring together three London-based poets, critics and translators for a discussion about multilingual diasporic poetries in London, exploring how local accents and mother tongues interact in writing and spoken word. Where, how and under what circumstances does multilingual poetry in London flourish? What role does it play for the many diasporic communities which make up London’s rich literary culture? And what role do translators, researchers and editors play in its creation and transmission? The speakers will be invited to reflect on these questions and their own critical practice, read from their work, and talk about the diasporic poetries which are important to them.

Momtaza Mehri is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologised, appearing in the likes of Granta, Artforum, Poetry International, Vogue and Real Life Mag. She is the former columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. Her chapbook Sugah Lump Prayer was published in 2017. Her most recent chapbook, Doing the Most With the Least, was published by Burley Fisher Books as a Goldsmiths Short in 2019.

Stephen Watts is a poet, editor, and translator. His own most recent books include Ancient Sunlight (2014), Gramsci & Caruso (Periplum, 2003), The Blue Bag (Aark Arts, 2004), Mountain Language/Lingua di montagna (Hearing Eye, 2008), and the long poem Journey Across Breath/Tragitto nel respire (2011), with Italian translation by Cristina Viti. Recent co-translations include Modern Kurdish Poetry (Uppsala University, 2006), A. N. Stencl’s All My Young Years (Five Leaves, 2007), Meta Kušar’s Ljubljana (Arc, 2010), Ziba Karbassi’s Collage Poem and Adnan al-Sayegh’s The Deleted Part (both Exiled Writers Ink, 2009).

Belinda Zhawi is a Zimbabwean-born writer, sound artist and educator who lives and works in London. Her work mostly focuses on memories of living in rural and urban Zimbabwe. She has performed across the UK at numerous venues, festivals and events including at Africa Writes, Bestival and TATE, with her work published in the anthologies Liminal Animals and Casagrande: Rain of Poems. In 2013, Zhawi featured on Channel 4’s Random Acts and also co-founded the monthly poetry night, BORN::FREE. Zhawi was Associate Poet at the ICA from Autumn 2016 to Spring 2017.

Please note that this is an online event. A link to access it will be emailed to ticket-holders a week before it takes place.

Back to top