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Exiled Writers: Poetry and Human Rights

Monday 6 June 2016, 8:00 pm10:00 pm

Poetry and Human Rights

An evening of poetry, performance, art and narrative, hosted by poet and human rights expert, Abbas Faiz.

Leesa Gazi, Ali Abdolrezaei, Farah Didi, Horia Mosadiq, Naushad Waheed and others will present their work on human rights topics and concepts relating to Bangladesh, Iran, the Maldives, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka.

Followed by open mic and music.


Leesa Gazi

is a writer, actor,TEDx speaker, and voice artist. Among her many achievements are: Working as a voice artist for Akram Khan’s ‘Desh’; Script interpreter in the 2012 Globe to Globe festival at the Globe Theatre on ‘The Tempest’; Acting in ‘Whisper Me Happy Ever After’ (Face Front Theatre), a play about domestic violence which had multiple tours in London schools over 2 years; Acting in a series of BBC Educational Films; Being nominated for the award of British Bangladeshi Power & Inspiration 100, 2015; Publication of her first novel in 2010; Working as a researcher, translator and playwright on the ongoing project, “Portrait of Baul”, an audio visual investigation of the current state of Baul music, and an examination of the significance of their philosophy; Concept developer, co-writer and the performer of the theatre production Birangona: Women of War, which completed its two and a half month tour in the UK, and also a three week tour in Bangladesh in 2014. Leesa’s theatrical credits include: ‘Chotto Desh’ (Akram Khan Company); ‘Made’ (Target Theatre); · ‘Of Blood And Fire’ (Komola Collective); ‘Desh’ (Akram Khan Company); ’Sonata’, ‘Rokeya’s Dream’, ‘ People’s Romeo’ & ‘Demon’s; Revenge’ (Tara Arts); ’Ponderful People’,Whisper Me Happy Ever After (Face Front Theatre); ‘Six Seasons’, ‘A Golden Age’ & ‘Bonbibi’ (Culturepot Global).

Ali Abdolrezaei

was born in 1969 in Langerood in Northern Iran. Ali published his first book of poems “Only Iron Men Rust in the Rain” at the age of 19, which had an undeniable impact on poetry circles with his speeches and media interviews. Ali left Iran in September 2002 after his protest against the censorship of his last book to be published in Iran, “So Sermon of Society”, which led to him being banned from teaching and public speaking. He now lives in London, UK. Ali has published 34 varied books which include “In Riskdom Where I lived”, “This Dear Cat”, “Paris in Renault”, “More Obscene than Literature”, “Hermaphrodite”, “You Name this Book”, “Terror”, “La Elaha Ella Love” and “Wisdom of Sin”. Ali Abdolrezaei’s poems have been translated into many languages including English , French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Turkish, Portuguese, Urdu, Croatian, Armenian, Bangali, and Arabic.

Dr. Farah Didi (nee Faizal) 

is a British-educated, human rights defender from Maldives. She worked for the Maldives democracy movement pre-2008 and with the first democratically elected government in 2008, she served as the High Commissioner of the Republic of Maldives to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from March 2009 to February 2012. She also served as Ambassador of Maldives to France, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark. Following the coup d’état in the Maldives on the 7th of February 2012, Farah resigned from her post in protest. Farah is the first Maldivian woman to get a PhD. She has been writing poetry from her young days and her recent works are mainly on the Maldives coup 2012 and its aftermath.

Horia Mosadiq 

is Amnesty International’s human rights expert on Afghanistan. She was the Award Winner of 2007 national human rights award in Afghanistan and in 2011 she was recognised for her work among 50 bravest women of the world by Glamour magazine. In 2012 she won Women Rights Defender Award from Amnesty International. Horia has been writing poems since an early age on topics relating, among others, to human rights.

Naushad Waheed 

is a Maldivian artist and human rights defender now living in the UK. He was imprisoned as a Prisoner of Conscience by the Maldives former dictator, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. The charge against him was that he had contacted Amnesty International about the human rights situation in the Maldives. Naushad began his career as an artist in the mid 70s. His paintings and sculptures have been displayed in tourist resorts in the Maldives. He has had exhibitions in Europe, Australia, China and the United States. Naushad is the winner of multiple national and international awards. Some of Naushad’s work will be on display at the Poetry Place during the event.

About the host:
Abbas Faiz is a poet, translator and human rights expert. He writes poems in both Persian and English and his poems have been published online and in print. He has also read them to audiences in the UK and abroad. In addition, he has translated into English poems from the 13th Century Persian poet, Rumi, and from the 14th Century Persian poet, Hafez. He has produced these translations in a series of literary events at the National Portrait Gallery and other venues. His co-translation, with Martin Turner, of ???? ??? ?? – Water’s Footfalls – by the contemporary Persian poet, Sohrab Sepehri, was published by Cambridge University Press and received a prize for best poetry in translation.