International Storytelling - Refugees and Migrants

with Agnieszka Dale, Christy Lefteri and Ellen Wiles, chaired by Lucy Popescu. Part of ReadFest 2019.


Thursday 26 September 2019, 6.00 PM

Barking Library

Barking Learning Centre

2 Town Square


IG11 7NB


Lucy Popescu will be hosting a discussion about refugees and migration and how it is portrayed in literature.

Agnieszka Dale is a Polish-born author, now living in London. She will be reading from and talking about Fox Season, her remarkable collection of short stories, published in 2017. She was longlisted for the Edge HillShort Story Prize in 2018. Her stories have been selected for BBC Radio 4, Liars’ League London, Tales of the Decongested and The Fine Line Short Story Collection. Her feature articles have been published by Stylist, and her song lyrics performed on BBC Radio 4, Liars’ League London, Tales of the Decongested and The Fine Line Short Story Collection. Her feature articles have been published by Stylist, and her song lyrics performed on BBC Radio 3.

Lucy Popescu is a writer and editor with a background in human rights. She is a former director of English PEN’sWriters in Prison Committee and co-edited the PENanthology Another Sky. She is also the author of The Good Tourist, about human rights and ethical travel, and edited the anthologies A Country to Call Home and A Country of Refuge about the experiences of refugees and asylum seekers. She is a volunteer mentor with Write to Life, Freedom from Tortures refugee writing group.

Christy Lefteri was brought up in London, the daughter of Cypriot refugees. She holds a PhD in creative writing and teaches creative writing at Brunel University. Her poignant novel, The Beekeeper of Aleppo, was born out of her time working as a volunteer at a UNICEF supported refugee centre in Athens. It describes the flight from war-torn Syria of Nuri and his blind wife Afra. Lefteri explores trauma, broken dreams, love and loss. Bees are a symbol of hope: “Where there are bees, there are flowers, and where there are flowers there is new life...”

Ellen Wiles is a novelist, literary anthropologist and live literature curator. The Invisible Crowd is about an Eritrean asylum seeker’s flight from his home country and his experiences in the UK. Her multi-layered novel also includes the perspectives of a right-wing politician and a child. It’s about serendipitous encounters and the power of kindness. It was inspired by a case Ellen worked on as a barrister, and her voluntary work with refugees.

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