72 – Adnan al-Sayegh and Caroline Smith

Burgage Hall

Adnan al-Sayegh and Caroline Smith(A technical fault meant that only the first 26 minutes of this event were recorded – very sorry)

Born in al-Kufa (Iraq) in 1955, Adnan al-Sayegh is one of the most original voices from the generation of Iraqi poets known as the Eighties Movement. His poetry, crafted with elegance, and sharp as an arrowhead, carries an intense passion for freedom, love and beauty.

Adnan uses his words as a weapon to denounce the devastation of war and the horrors of dictatorship. In 1993 his uncompromising criticism of oppression and injustice led to his exile in Jordan and the Lebanon. After being sentenced to death in Iraq in 1996, he took refuge in Sweden. Since 2004 he has been living in London.

Caroline Smith’s new collection, The Immigration Handbook, distils fifteen years experience as an Immigration and Asylum caseworker in Wembley, one of the most diverse communities in the UK. Tamil families fleeing torture, Polish farm workers seeking a better life, Afghani warlords; their stories are juxtaposed against the ‘official-speak’ of bureaucracy and a dysfunctional Home Office.