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PTC Online Workshops: Nigerian Hausa poet Mudi Sipikin


The Poetry Translation Centre is very proud to present a workshop on Hausa poetry, focussing on the work of Nigerian poet Mudi Sipikin.

Our online poetry translation workshops can be accessed from anywhere in the world. Join like-minded poetry lovers from across the world to discover new poetry and different cultures, share insights and language skills, working together to open up a poem in its original language and reassemble it in English.

We have had participants from the UK, Ireland, Nigeria, New Zealand and Sri Lanka. The workshops are the perfect way to keep you feeling creative, engaged and connected to the world at large. A rough and ready guild translation is provided by the guest translator so there is no need to know the language being translated, simply sign up and bring your love of language.

This online workshop will take place over two 90-minute sessions on Zoom over two consecutive Tuesdays. This format will let us spend time with a single poetic voice. The workshops will be lead by translator Richard Ali who is an expert in the language, and the professional poet Chrissy Williams. They will offer insight into the nuances of the language and culture, and give helpful suggestions for the direction of the translation that is produced.

We are pleased to present this workshop in partnership with the Aké Arts and Books Festival.

'Pay-What-You-Want' Pricing

We want to keep our workshop experience as accessible as possible, especially as we are aware that Covid has put many people at a financial disadvantage.

About the Poet

Alhaji Mudi Sipikin was a poet and a founding member of the progressive independent party, Northern Elements Peoples Union (NEPU) in 1950. Popularly known as Mudi Spikin, he got the surname from the habit, when he was a clerk to the NEPU progressives party, of answering phonecalls with "This is Mudi spikin". His poem will be translated under the guidance of Richard Ali.

Mudi Sipikin was born and lived in Kano State in Northern Nigeria, but he had a wide knowledge of politics and travelled the world. He was educated and obtained GCE certificates via correspondence with a school in London. His first poem, published in 1946 when he was 18, showed concern with the welfare of the poor. As a political activist, Mudi worked for independence from colonial rule, for which he was imprisoned several times, and once achieved championed education and religious tolerance in Nigeria. He was the founding father of the Hikima Club, an association of poets writing in Hausa. A popular poet who covered all aspects of life, he often read at public occasions right up until his death in 2013.

About the Translator

Richard Ali is a Nigerian lawyer, novelist and poet. A founding member of the Nairobi-based writers’ collective, Jalada Africa, he helped work on the Translations 01 project which saw a short story by Ngugi wa Thiongo translated into 100+ languages. He has spoken publicly about Arabic as a language bridge between the middle east and Africa and in 2020, he translated one of the maqamats of al-Hariri of Basra (d. 1122) to Naija Langwej as part of Professor Michael Cooperson’s new book of translations—Impostures (NYU Press). He read from this translation at a seminar at Princeton in August. His novel, City of Memories (Parrésia Books) was published in 2012 and the poetry collection, The Anguish and Vigilance of Things was published by Konya Shamsrumi in 2019. He works in internal security, particularly in preventing and countering violent extremism (PCVE), and practices corporate law in Abuja, Nigeria.

About the Facilitator

Chrissy Williams is a poet, editor and tutor based in London. Her work has been featured by the BBC and her first book-length collection Bear (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) was one of the Telegraph's 50 Best Books of the Year. The author of numerous pamphlets, her work has been shortlisted for the Michael Marks Award, and published in many magazines and anthologies including Poetry, Poetry Review, Poetry London and Salt's Best British Poetry series. She is editor of the online poetry journal PERVERSE, and previously worked both at the National Poetry Library and as Director of the Poetry Book Fair. She is also an improviser and edits comics, including the New York Times bestselling The Wicked + The Divine. Her second book-length collection, Low, is published by Bloodaxe in 2021.

Full Details

To try and make the online experience as enjoyable and manageable as possible, places will be restricted - if you book please do make sure you can attend both sessions.

Workshop materials and the log-in details to join the sessions with easy to follow instructions, will be sent out by email when you book your place.• The PTC will deliver these workshops online via Zoom.

• This online series will follow our usual workshop format, working as a group to translate the poem line by line.
• Working from a guide translation of the original poem, guided by a translator and poet to facilitate the sessions.
• Two sessions lasting 90 minutes over two weeks working on one longer poem.
• In advance of the beginning of the series, we will share the original poem and the guide translation that the group will be working from as well as further materials to aid the experience like audio examples of the poetry and a video introduction to the poet by the translator
• On consecutive Tuesday evenings 20 and 27 April, 18:30-20:00 GMT.
• Pay-What-You-Want donation when reserving your ticket.
• Reserve one ticket for both sessions.

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