Poetry can be a powerful way to explore identity, belonging, movement, and one’s environment. Nowhere is that more pertinent than in the work of writers most affected by migration and the refugee experience. Azfa Awad and Mukahang Limbu are two exciting young voices in the poetry world who are themselves from refugee and immigrant backgrounds, whose poetry explores and interrogates these ideas with precision and power. Alan Buckley is a local poet who works closely with refugees at Oxfordshire charity, Refugee Resource. Come hear them share some of their work and discuss their process at this unique event.
Azfa Awad is an award winning page and performance poet who won the Oxford Tower Poetry competiton in 2013 for her poem ‘Origins’ and became the first Oxford Youth Ambassador for Poetry. Her role involved sharing her love for poetry with the young people of Oxford through writing workshops, and collaborating with composers at Oxford University to write an aria for oper. She was also part of ‘Map of Me,’ a two-woman performance poetry show with Rosemary Harris that explored the relationship between a young female refugee and an immigration officer.
Mukahang Limbu is a writer currently living in Oxford. He was the overall winner of the First Story National Competition in 2015, for his poem ‘When I came from Nepal’ and was the winner of the Cheltenham Literature Festival. He was also included in the top 85 commended poets for the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award in 2016.
Alan Buckley is from Merseyside, and now lives in Oxford. His most recent publication is the pamphlet The Long Haul (HappenStance, 2016). He was highly commended in the 2017 Forward Prizes. He is a poetry editor at Ignition Press, and a school writer-in-residence with First Story. He also works as a psychotherapist for local charity Refugee Resource.
Music will also be provided by the wonderful local songwriter, Samantha Twigg Johnson.
Samantha Twigg Johnson sings songs of love, fury, apocalypse, and wine-soaked compromise. As a performer, she gained her sea-legs on Chicago’s vibrant open mic scene in the 2000s. She has since played in a variety of bright stages and dark corners, and now lives in Oxford. In addition to the flamenco guitar, she plays the Puerto Rican cuatro and the cajón. She is currently working on a new record, ”Flights and Landings”.