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Women, Life, Freedom - Persian poetry reading in solidarity with the Women's Uprising in Iran

Room 137, Goldsmiths University

To mark a year since the Woman’s Uprising in Iran, six Persian-speaking poets living in the UK are coming together for a reading and Q&A. The poets Shabnam Azar, Puya Azizi, Afshin Babazadeh, Sana Nassari, Ronak Faraji, and Alireza Abiz will be reading their poems mostly in Persian and some in Kurdish, with each poet presenting a translation of one of their pieces in English translation.

Iranian society was shaken last year by the Woman’s Uprising, a nationwide call for the recognition of women’s rights following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini at the hands of the Iranian state’s morality police. Protests on the street, in classrooms, and at the funerals of victims of state repression demonstrated a deeply felt need for change in Iran.

The slogan 'Women, Life, Freedom’ appeared across the nation on walls, in social media posts and in the classrooms of rebelling children who hoped to see their society recognise the rights of women. Sadly, the regime’s response to this public outpouring was brutal and repressive, seeing hundreds killed, and many more injured and imprisoned.

Thanks to translation, Persian poetry has been an influential force in many other world literatures, inspiring Georgian, Swedish, and English writers. This poetic tradition has deep classical roots in all Persian-speaking countries including Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan as well as the historical Persianate world and enjoys a lively contemporary expression. The classical forms of Persian poetry has been challenged by new modernising movements and the emergence of a post-modern stain in the 1990s.

After the poetry reading there will be Q&A where the audience will be able to ask the poets questions in both English and Persian.

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