Embracing Freedom Amid Exile with Writer-in-Residence Rania Mamoun

04 Mar 2023


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh:

We are overjoyed to host this reading for Rania Mamoun—Sudanese journalist, activist, and City of Asylum writer-in-residence—and announce the launch of her new book, Something Evergreen Called Life.

After years of writing and organizing against the regime of Omar al-Bashir, Rania was finally forced to leave her country with her young daughters, taking refuge in Pittsburgh in the early throes of the pandemic. Confined to her new home, Rania embarked on a daily practice of writing, out of which emerged these poems of loss, despair, and hope. This work tells a story of grief and fear, both of feeling these intense emotions and of moving through them. It is a story of reaching for the warmth of light and the life that grows within it. Something Evergreen Called Life offers readers nightpiercing songs of exile and intimacy, brought into English by Yasmine Seale through lyrical and crystalline translation. We are so proud of Rania and the beautiful work she has created in her time here, and we hope you will join us in celebrating this new era of her life, heralded by this release.

You can purchase your own copy of Rania’s book, Something Evergreen Called Life, at City of Asylum Bookstore.

About the Author:

Rania Mamoun is a writer and Sudanese resistance committee activist. A 2010 International Prize for Arabic Fiction Nadwa participant, Rania has published two novels in Arabic, Flash Akhdar (Green Flash) and Ibn-al-Shams (Son of the Sun). She is the author of the short story collection 13 Sharen Min Isharaq al Shams (Thirteen Months of Sunrise), which was translated to English by Elisabeth Jaquette and shortlisted for the 2020 Warwick Prize for Women in Translation. Her writing has appeared in English translation in Mizna, for which she received a Pushcart Prize nomination, Shenandoah Literary Journal, Banipal Magazine, Words Without Borders, and The Fourth River. Her stories have appeared in translation in the collections The Book of Khartoum, Banthology, and Nouvelles du Soudan. Rania edited Al Thaqafi culture magazine, contributed frequently to Al Doha Magazine, and was a presenter for the cultural program Silicon Valley on Sudanese television. In 2020, Rania completed her first poetry manuscript in Arabic and since then has published articles, poems, and short stories in Medameek, Al Baeed Magazine, Kikah Magazine, Al Araby UK, and Al Democrati, a Sudanese newspaper.

About the Translator:

Yasmine Seale (she/her) is a writer and translator. Her essays on literature, art, and film have been published in Harper’s, Paris Review, The Nation, and elsewhere. Her poetry, visual art, and translations from Arabic and French have appeared widely. She is the author, with Robin Moger, of Agitated Air: Poems after Ibn Arabi (Tenement Press, 2022). Other work includes Aladdin: a New Translation (2018) and The Annotated Arabian Nights (2021), both out from W. W. Norton. She has received a PEN America Literary Grant and the Wasafiri New Writing Prize for Poetry. She lives in Paris, where she is currently a fellow at the Columbia Institute for Ideas and Imagination.

Event Date: 
Saturday, March 4, 2023 - 3:00pm to 4:30pm
Sponsored By: 
City of Asylum
Alphabet City (40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh) and Virtual