Reclaiming narratives with Zeba Talkhani and Nadine Aisha Jassat
Continuing with our July Hub Talks programme, we have 2 fabulous guest writers; Zeba Talkhani will be in conversation with poet Nadine Aisha Jassat. Both writers will sharing their debut books of memoir and poetry exploring their own personal narratives as Muslim women and writers of colour.
In an eye-opening and inspirational account, Zeba Talkhani offers a fresh perspective on living as an outsider and examines her relationship with her mother and the challenges she faced when she experienced hair loss at a young age. Rejecting the traditional path her culture had chosen for her, Zeba became financially independent and married on her own terms in the UK. Drawing on her personal experiences Zeba shows how she fought for the right to her individuality as a feminist Muslim and refused to let negative experiences define her. My Past Is a Foreign Country is an inspirational tale of how Zeba came to claim her own narrative and construct her own identity in light of the challenges faced.
In My Past is a Foreign Country, 28-year-old Zeba Talkhani charts her experiences growing up in Saudi Arabia amid patriarchal customs reminiscent of The Handmaid’s Tale, and her journey to find freedom in India, Germany and the UK as a young woman.
A young woman’s journey to self-discovery, feminism and freedom:
‘Growing up, I was always made to feel I was not enough. If I hadn’t had the courage to look beyond these words, I would have probably died believing this lie. I used to look for myself in books and films. I wanted to be seen, to be heard. I wanted to listen to a voice that sounded like mine. I wanted my existence to be acknowledged. I wanted someone to say that I’m beautiful just the way I am … For years I yearned for love and acceptance until I realised that the voice I was looking for was mine. That it’s been here all this time, all I had to do was listen. To open myself to the possibility of becoming myself.’ – Zeba Talkhani
Nadine Aisha Jassat’s Let Me Tell You This is a vital exploration of racism, gender-based violence, and the sustaining, restorative bonds between women, told with searing precision and intelligent lyricism. Nadine takes you on a journey exploring heritage, connection, and speaking out. These poems demonstrate the power of heart and voice, and will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
Praise for Let Me Tell You This:
‘A punchy, powerful debut collection’ – Jackie Kay (Trumpet)
‘An important collection. Incisive, delicate and precise as it interrogates the trauma of systemic and everyday racism’ – Nikesh Shukla (The Good Immigrant and The One Who Wrote Destiny)
’It’s rare that a debut poetry collection feels this assured’ – DIVA Magazine
Tickets are free for members of Impact Hub Birmingham and £5 for non members. Tickets can be booked here via Eventbrite. Foyles Birmingham will be selling copies of both My Past is A Foreign Country and Let Me Tell You This and both writers will be signing books at the end of the event.
More about Zeba Talkhani: Zeba has written for the Saudi Gazette, The Manipal Journal, gal-dem, Wasafiri and the Nasty Women anthology. She works in publishing and is a passionate advocate for BAME voices in the publishing industry. Zeba was born in Sirsi, South India, in 1999 and she currently lives in London. You can follow Zeba on Twitter here.
More about Nadine Aisha Jassat: Nadine is a writer and poet based in Scotland. She has appeared at numerous festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and Aye Write: Glasgow’s Book Festival and is the winner of British Council Discover Project open call.
Nadine has been shortlisted for the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award 2018 and has been published online and in print, including her debut poetry pamphlet Still, and in 404 Ink’s highly acclaimed anthology Nasty Women and It’s Not About the Burqa (Picador).
Her spoken-word piece ‘Hopscotch’, was made into a film-poem by Roxana Vilk in 2017, and in 2018 she received a prestigious New Writers Award from the Scottish Book Trust. Nadine was recently named as one of 30 inspiring young women under 30 in Scotland. Let Me Tell You This is Nadine’s debut poetry collection published by 404 Ink. You can follow Nadine on Twitter here.
Hub Talks is our regular programme of world class writers, thinkers, filmmakers, performers and more.
Over the last 4 years we have been implicitly growing our reputation for convening to hear from deliberate and nuanced writers such as New York Time #1 best selling writer Angie Thomas, Afua Hirsch, Patrick Ness and Patrisse Khan-Cullers, as well as collaborative events with one of the nation’s favourite bakers Nadiya Hussain and The Good Immigrant with Nikesh Shukla and Birmingham Literature Festival, our approach to programming has consistently been about quietly showing a different story.
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