“To Leave in the Afternoon: Inheriting the Language of a Civil War”
Ubah Cristina Ali Farah is a Somali-Italian novelist, performer, teacher and social activist. Her two novels, Madre piccola [Little Mother, Indiana UP 2011] and Il Comandante del fiume [The Commander of the River] tell stories of the Somali civil war and its refugees in Italy. In 2006, she was awarded the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize, and in 2008, the Vittorini Prize. She has a PhD in African Studies from the University of Naples; currently she lives in Brussels. She is participating in the International Writing Program’s 2017 Fall Residency courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Born in Italy to a Somali father and an Italian mother, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah grew up in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, attending an Italian school there until the Somalia Civil War broke out in 1991. Ali Farah and her family subsequently relocated to Pécs, Hungary, and then later moved back to her birthplace, Verona, Italy. In the intervening years, she has carried with her a Somali language that was radically re-shaped by the conflict and stories that seem like her own memories. Farah draws on Eva Hoffman’s concept of “postmemory” to describe the effect of these traumatic experiences on the entire generation born after the Civil War. In this lunchtime lecture, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah will share her experiences as a writer addressing violence, civil division, and national memory.
Reminder: If you have not already done so, please remember to renew your ICFRC membership.