Sunday, October 28, 5:00pm
Magers And Quinn Booksellers (map)
New Somali Fiction: Ahmed Ismail Yusuf (The Lion's Binding Oath) in conversation with Fartumo Kusow (Tale of a Boon's Wife), moderated by Cawo Abdi (Elusive Jannah: The Somali Disapora and a Borderless Muslim Identity)
Join us for a conversation between two Somali fiction writers working in English, moderated by the University of Minnesota's Professor Cawo Abdi.
About The Lion's Binding Oath::
Religious and ethnic conflict may be the Horn of Africa’s most enduring recent legacy. But beneath its recent history of war and displacement lies human stories—families, clans, lovers, neighbors, and friends, all bound together through common cultural, religious, and historical ties.
The Lion’s Binding Oath, Ahmed Ismail Yusuf’s collection of short stories, introduces readers to the people of Somalia and their struggles: their humanity, faith, identity, friendship, and family bonds, as whispers of war grow louder around them. Through stories that span the years before and during Somalia’s civil war, Yusuf weaves together Somalia’s political, social, and religious conflicts with portrayals of the country’s love of poetry, music, and soccer. Yusuf’s collection is a powerful examination of love and resilience in a country torn apart by war, and written with deep compassion for the lives of its characters.
After fleeing Somalia, Ahmed Ismail Yusuf lived in several states but has lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1997. He did not speak English when he arrived, he was a high-school dropout, and he was not sure what his actual age was. Today he has two college degrees and is the author of Somalis in Minnesota, published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, and Gorgorkii Yimi, a collection of stories in Somali, published by Ponte Invisible. In February 2018, The History Theatre of St. Paul produced his play A Crack in the Sky, a memoir about how Yusuf found inspiration in Maya Angelou and Malcolm X during his early days as an immigrant to the U.S.
About Tale of a Boon's Wife:
In her debut English language novel, Windsor author Fartumo Kusow imagines a young Somali woman who defies convention and clan.
Idil has grown up as the adored daughter in a privileged family. She worships her father, a high-ranking official in the Somali army, and all that he represents. But as she matures and watches her parents’ marriage unravel, her father’s image tarnishes.
Always curious and questioning, Idil begins to rebel and becomes a threat and an affront to her family’s social standing. When she falls in love with gentle Sidow from the lower-class Boon tribe, their love is not only taboo, it may be doomed.
Idil is ready to give up her family and social status to be with the man she loves. But she cannot guess how terrifying the repercussions will be. As the country stumbles towards civil war, Idil’s actions set off a war within the family that will affect her as deeply as the politics around her.
Born in Somalia, Fartumo Kusow immigrated to Canada at the start of the civil war. Her first novel, Amran, was serialized in October Star, Mogadishu: Somali National Press in 1984. Since her arrival in Canada in 1991 she has earned a B. Arts Honours in English Language and Literature and B. Education from the University of Windsor. She now teaches English literature courses for the Greater Essex County District School Board. A mother of five adult children, she lives in Windsor, Ontario.
Cawo (Awa) Abdi is author of "Elusive Jannah: The Somali Diaspora and a Borderless Muslim Identity." Abdi is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota and a research associate in sociology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.