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MUSLIM VOICES FROM CHINA: An evening dedicated to Uyghur writers from Xinjiang

PEN international

Uyghur PEN | 30th October 2012

Monday 5th November 2012 at 7.30 in Exiled Lit Cafe London


* The Land Drowned in Tears by Söyün'gül Janishif

Excerpts from a new translation read by Rahima Mahmut. Söyün'gül Janishif was born in 1940 into a middle class family in the capital of Urumchi in China’s north-western Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, also known as East Turkistan. While studying medicine at university she became involved in student politics, and was arrested and imprisoned. “The Land Drowned in Tears” is based on her secret prison diary, kept between 1957 and 1981 during her time in prison and labour camps in Xinjiang. It provides a unique first-hand account of the extremism, terror and violence of the Cultural Revolution as experienced by Uyghurs.

* Introduction to the work of Uyghur PEN

The International PEN Uyghur Center is one of 145 International PEN centres across the globe dedicated to promoting freedom of expression, thought and information for all. It campaigns for the release of imprisoned writers, for free media, for the right to one's mother tongue, and for other rights related to freedom of expression. Uyghur PEN's focus of expertise is on western China and Central Asia.

* Music from the London Uyghur Ensemble

A London-based group playing traditional and popular music of the Central Asian Uyghurs. LUE made its debut at the London South Bank ‘Sanctuary’ festival for refugee music in 2005, and (among many other gigs) has performed at St Ethelburgas Centre for Peace and Reconciliation, and Norway’s Forde ‘Freedom and Oppression’ Folk Festival.

* Special guest poet from Australia:

Toby Davidson is a West Australian poet now living in Sydney as a lecturer in Australian literature at Macquarie University. He is the editor of Francis Webb Collected Poems and an upcoming critical study Born of Fire, Possessed by Darkness: Mysticism and Australian Poetry (Cambria Press, 2013). His own poetry has thrice featured in Australia's major yearly anthology Best Australian Poems in 2007 and 2011 and in December 2012 his debut collection Beast Language will be launched by Melbourne's Five Islands Press.

* Open Mic:

Hosted by Rachel Harris (Department of Music, SOAS) and Rahima Mahmut (London Uyghur Ensemble)

Organised by Exiled Writers Ink. Website link:

uyghur pen events

Uyghur Pen

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