Episode 1

Published on:

12th Dec 2021

Mohammed Ghassani: Voice of a Stranger in a Strange Land

Meg Arenberg speaks with Swahili poet and journalist Mohammed Ghassani about how fellow Zanzibaris have received the news of Abdulrazak Gurnah's Nobel prize, Ghassani's experience living abroad, and how the themes of alienation and longing in Gurnah's novels overlap with Ghassani's poetry, in particular his collection N'na Kwetu (I Have a Home, There is a We), which won him the first Mabati Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature in 2015.

At the close of the interview, Ghassani and Meg read together from the collection, a poem titled "Kama Wewe," interspersing the Swahili original with Meg's English translation titled, "Your Equal."

Mohammed Khelef Ghassani was born in 1977 in Zanzibar and is author of several collections of poetry, including Andamo: Msafiri Safirini, Siwachi Kusema: Uhuru U Kifungoni, Kalamu ya Mapinduzi: Mapambano Yanaendelea, and N'na Kwetu: Sauti ya Mgeni Ugenini. In addition to his poetry, Mohammed Ghassani is a journalist living and working in Bonn, Germany.

Meg Arenberg is a writer, translator and scholar. She is a postdoctoral fellow in AMESALL at Rutgers University and Managing Director of the Radical Books Collective.

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About the Podcast

A Radical Books Collective podcast
Progressive conversations about books, publishing and writing.

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Radical Books Collective

Radical Books Collective creates an alternative, inclusive and non-commercial approach to books and reading. Radical books stimulate our imaginations to advance transformative futures. Radical books expose structures of oppression and chart creative paths forward. Such books alter our understanding of historical events, amplify the voices of marginalized groups, and account for the costs of persecution and repression. The Radical Books Collective organizes virtual book clubs, book and author events and immersive seminars on foundational radical books.
Bhakti Shringarpure is a writer, editor and educator. She co-founded Warscapes magazine and is now the Creative Director of the Radical Books Collective.

Meg Arenberg is a writer, scholar and translator from Swahili into English. She is the Managing Editor of the Radical Books Collective.

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