Hassan Blasim in conversation with Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN

On Wednesday 12 December, The Mosaic Rooms hosted a reading and discussion with English PEN’s director Jo Glanville, acclaimed translator Jonathan Wright, and Hassan Blasim, the Iraqi-born film-maker, playwright, poet and short story writer, whose new collection The Iraqi Christ was a winner of an English PEN Writers in Translation Award.

Hassan answered questions about his experience growing up in Iraq through nearly constant war, from the Iran-Iraq war, to the invasion of Kuwait through to the second Gulf War in 2003. He then read out his story ‘The Song of the Goats’ in Arabic, while his translator Jonathan projected the English translation for the audience.

Following the reading, he spoke about the relationship between his written and cinematic work, the threats of persecution that led him to move to Kurdistan and change his name, and the cross-continent four-year journey that finally led him to settling in Finland. The 40-strong audience also had many questions for both author and translator, Hassan being asked about his influences and future projects, and Jonathan being asked about the experience of translating street vernacular instead of more typical ‘beautiful’ or ‘literary’ Arabic prose.

Order your SIGNED COPY of Hassan Blasim’s incredible The Iraqi Christ by 5pm this evening to ensure delivery before Christmas (subject to availability). Please follow this link.


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