April readings hosted by City of Asylum


By Alyse Horn

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, April 12 the City of Asylum will be hosting a reading with Indian-American author Akhil Sharma.

According to the City of Asylum website, Sharma was born in Delhi and immigrated at the age of 8 to the United Stated.

His novel, “An Obedient Father,” won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the Whiting Writers’ Award in 2001, the year it was written.  Sharma has also published stories in The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The Quarterly, Fiction, and in the Best American Short Stories Anthology and the O. Henry Award Winners Anthology. He will be reading from his new novel, “Family Life,” set to be released this month, according to the website.

The City of Asylum will also be hosting a reading by two international poets at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22 at 330 Sampsonia Way.

Henry Reese, the co-founder and president of City of Asylum, said in an email that “A lucky confluence helped us put together this reading of international poets from parts of the world rarely heard from in Pittsburgh.”

According to the City of Asylum website, Mazen Maarouf is a Palestinian poet and writer who was raised in Lebanon. Maarouf was exiled to Iceland after criticizing the Syrian regime. Maarouf has published three collections of poetry entitled “The Camera Doesn’t Capture Birds,” “Our Grief Resembles Bread,” and “An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline.”

His most recent book, “An Angel Suspended On The Clothesline,” which has been translated into a number of languages, was published in Lebanon after he had left and was also recently published in France. Filmmaker Roxana Vilk made a documentary about him on the behalf of Reel Festivals.

Rachida Madani was born and lives in Tangiers, Morocco and is a lifelong political activist. Her book, “Tales of a Severed Head” is a finalist in the 2013 Poetry in Translation Award that is sponsored by the PEN American Center, according to the City of Asylum website.

“Tales of a Severed Head” highlights storytelling as an empowering “Scheherazade-like” act for a modern woman seeking to define her role in a world plagued by poverty, corruption, human rights abuse, and the lingering effects of colonialism, according to an email from City of Asylum.

Currently, Madani is working on a new book of poems and a second novel. Sections from “Tales of a Severed Head” have appeared in numerous journals in the United States and Great Britain, including Words Without Borders, Banipal, Magma and Callallo.

The reception begins at 7 p.m. and the reading at 7:30 p.m. The event is free to the public, but space is limited. Click here to reserve tickets or email julie.tvaruzek@cityofasylumpittsburgh.org.

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