Silent Voices – Extraordinary Literary Talent from Five British Somali Writers

Silent Voices is anthology of contemporary writing by five British Somali writers who powerfully express their views of being Somali in Britain, covering some of the controversial issues that have impacted each of their lives.
Spread the Word
Listed Under

British Somali Writers
Anthology Of Contemporary Writing
Literary Masterpiece


swindon - Wiltshire - England

Jan. 16, 2008 - PRLog -- Silent Voices is anthology of contemporary writing by five British Somali writers who powerfully express their views of being Somali in Britain, covering some of the controversial issues that have impacted each of their lives. The book was born as part of Monsoon Press’s Hidden Voices Programme funded by the Arts Council and has enabled previously unknown writers to product this fascinating and touching collection of extraordinary literary pieces.

After more than a century of Somali presence in the UK, there is still a lack of knowledge about who they are. Many are misrepresented and the assumption is made that all are asylum seekers, are involved in crime gangs or are uneducated and unskilled.  Silent Voices attempts to dispel some of these bigoted perceptions by presenting to the world a wealth of hidden talent from five writers who find expression through their eloquent prose and poetry.

One of the contributors, 33-year-old Zahrah Awaleh, was born and raised in England. Zahrah writes with passion and emotion about the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) and how the Qur’an confirms that Islam and FGM are totally incompatible.  She based her Masters dissertation on FGM, following which she began work with the NGO Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development, which runs national and international projects and campaigns against FGM and other forms of gender violence.

Another of the writers, Adam Dirir, who was born in Somalia, produces Somali Eye magazine and runs the Somali Voice Radio in Tower Hamlets.  As a community activist and dedicated writer, Adam’s work reflects his commitment in encouraging the Somali community to aspire and develop their strengths. In Silent Voices, he attempts to convey how it feels to be a Somali living in Britain through his own thoughts and those of leading people he has interviewed from the area.

When  24-year-old Shafi Said moved to the UK, he immediately enrolled in college and began working with several Somali communities. He now works as a Teaching Assistant and is currently in his final year of a combined honours' degree in Journalism with Creative Writing and Professional Writing. Shafi contributes two heart-rending pieces of fiction in addition to six poems, one of which is a tribute to his late aunt.

The fourth writer, Laila Ali Egge, was only a baby when she fled with her parents to the U after the political turmoil in Somalia turned into a full-scale civil war. She is now in her third year of University, pursuing a degree in International Relations and Development Studies. Although she has no memories of Somalia, she has always been proud of being Somali, but as she grew up was shocked, dismayed and ashamed to encounter media images of carnage, violence and emaciated children.

Laila began to research everything about Somalia with the help of her great uncle, who had left Somalia before the outbreak of the Civil War. His account of the land was vastly differently to that portrayed on the news. Laila was therefore inspired to write an emotional piece in the form of a letter that she imagined her uncle would have written to his native land, with a reply from the land to her uncle.

The youngest writer is 18-year-old Abdi Bahdon, a gifted poet, lyricist and actor. Abdi has starred in a moved entitled Mash Up, the ITV series The Bill and a theatre production entitled Ghetto Faces. Abdi faced appalling violence in Somalia and was left with a paralysed arm and broken ribs after being caught up in a car explosion. He lost his family and friends when he fled to the UK with a group of refugees, who later abandoned him. In addition to his creative skills, Abdi has achieved amazing academic success and is currently studying A levels in Sociology, Physiology and English.

Abdi  said, “I have been through too much just to give up on life. I want everyone to know how hard life is back home in Somalia. I don’t want to be in that sort of pain anymore, so I try my hardest to succeed for a better life.” These desires are clearly and emotionally reflected in his poignant poems published in Silent Voices.

For further information contact:

Rabina Khan
Monsoon Press
Oxford House, 2 Derbyshire Street
London E2 6HG


Like PRLog?
Click to Share