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Poet alumna Dr Parwana Fayyaz in conversation

Award-winning poet and alumna Dr Parwana Fayyaz will be in conversation with Emeritus Professor Adrian Poole for the launch of her debut volume Forty Names on Wednesday 11 August at 7pm.

Dr Fayyaz won the 2019 Forward Prize for the best single poem. Forty Names is published by Carcanet. Coincidentally, the launch comes at a challenging time given events in Afghanistan.

The launch of my book, Forty Names, comes at a time when each Afghan, both inside and outside Afghanistan, feels the political instability increasing and the tension inside them building up further on daily basis.

The country is experiencing yet another harsh moment in its history. Indeed, I am once again witnessing history repeating itself, and through Forty Names, I am going to meet my audience to tell them how each of these poems recalls part of that history.

If, during the launch, I happen to become very emotional or even go completely silent, it is because the whole situation with my family, who is currently in Kabul, has been overwhelming. Still, I am ready to share these poems and this book with you all, and I could not wish for anyone better to share the Zoom stage with than Professor Adrian Poole.

Dr Fayyaz completed a PhD in Persian Studies at Trinity College in 2020 and is now a Research Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge focusing on Medieval Persian Literature and the dialogue between Eastern and Western cultures which began with the work of the poet Jami.

Professor Poole said he was honoured to take part.

Parwana is a great story-teller. To listen to her poems is to listen to history happening, re-happening, right now. Her writing testifies to pain, injury and injustice but it is also rich with gratitude and admiration. There are many resonant lines in this wonderful volume of hers, but one that I particularly admire is the simple declaration with which it closes, as simple as it is proud, that “I continue to write a poem”.


You can register for the launch of Forty Names. The cost is £2, redeemable against the cost of the book (full details will be given at the event.)

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