Monday 13 March 2017, 6:45pm – 9pm, Free Word Centre
A winner of PEN Promotes, I Stared at the Night of the City is a trip: a tale of extraordinary people travelling great distances, in their minds or with their feet.
Iraqi Kurdistan at the turn of the twenty-first century is a territory ruled by strongmen, revolutionaries, fixers, bureaucrats and the “Barons” who control everything from livestock and land to Kurdish cultural life.
Defying the absolute power wielded by the Barons, a band of friends led by a poet embarks on an odyssey to find the bodies of two lovers killed unjustly by the authorities.
This haunting, passionate novel of love, violence and journeys of the spirit is told by a series of unreliable narrators in a kaleidoscope of fragments that come together seamlessly. It is a lyrical portrait of contemporary Kurdistan – so much in the news nowadays, yet so little understood.
Author Bakhtiyar Ali will be in conversation with his translator Kareem Abdulrahman and other guests. They will discuss how the world shown in the book differs from international media reports about Iraqi Kurdistan. And what the role the arts and imagination play in both the book and contemporary Kurdistan. Finally, we will explore the unique challenges of translating Kurdish. The conversation will be chaired by Alexandra Büchler, Director of Literature Across Frontiers.
There will be a chance to ask questions of both the author and the translator. The Free Word Centre bar will be open before and after the event so that the conversation can continue.