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Roundtable on Migrant Literature

LSE Literary Weekend/ Migration Studies Unit/ Forum for European Philosophy event

The migrant intellectual, writes Edward Said, has ‘double vision’. He or she is in a constant dialogue with his or her old and new home. Their writings often convey both a sense of loss and yearning but also display a richness wrought by the integration of multiple cultural identities, unique experiences and diverse modes of expression.

These authors will explore what is it like to be migrant writers in their respective societies—what are the points of divergence, what are the commonalities? The authors will be invited to start off the evening by reading short excerpts from their work that typifies their own experiences as migrant authors. We will then explore some of the following questions in a roundtable discussion. What modes of expression have migrant writers found to intermediate between where they came from and what they are confronted with in European cultures? What impact does the work of migrant writers have on the politics of multiculturalism in their respective societies? Are the political conditions in their respective countries supportive of artistic work by migrant authors? What explains the interest of the public in migrant literature in contemporary society? How is the work of migrant writers received in their countries of origin?

Kapka Kassabova was born in Bulgaria in 1973 and learned to speak English at the age of 16 when her parents emigrated to New Zealand. She spent time in Buenos Aires, Marseille and Berlin, before settling in Edinburgh, and is the author of two novels, four poetry collections and a couple of travel guides. Her memoir of childhood in Bulgaria, A Street Without a Name, is published in paperback by Portobello Books in February 2009. For more information see www.kapka-kassabova.com

Mustafa Kör was born in Turkey and emigrated to Belgium when he was three years old. He published his first novel De Lammeren (The Lambs) in 2007 and received the El Hizjra Prize of Literature for Uitverkorene (The Chosen).

Besides regular appearances on radio and TV and writing for newspapers and compilations, Naema Tahir has authored three books. A muslimwoman unveils (2005) deals with the effects of migration on the rights of Muslim women. Its impact on the Dutch migration debate was widely recognised, turning Tahir into a frequent debater in Dutch and Flemish media. She was lauded for her best-selling Prized Possession (2006), which describes the largely sexual strategies of three Pakistani women towards achieving autonomy and dignity. She earned a scholarship from the Dutch Society of Authors. Her novel Lonelinesses (2008) tackles the struggle for identity in a radicalising family of immigrants, giving further proof of Tahir’s sharp-eyed and humoristic observation. Het most recent novel Little Green Riding Hood and the Converted Wolf, was launched in October 2008 and received extremely well in Belgium and the Netherlands. This book of political fairy tales deals with morality amongst Muslims.

This is part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Weekend, the LSE's first ever Literary Festival, celebrating the completion of the New Academic Building.


Kapka Kassabova | talks
Mustafa Kor | talks
Naema Tahir | talks
Chair: Professor Luc Bovens | talks


Date and Time:

28 February 2009 at 5:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



Wolfson Theatre, London School of Economics & Political Science
New Academic Building
Lincoln's Inn Fields

Show map

Organised by:

London School of Economics & Political Science
See other talks organised by London School of Economics & Political Science...




Available from:

This event is free and open to all, but a ticket is required. One ticket per person may be requested from 10am on Tuesday 17 February.

Members of the public can request one ticket via the online ticket request form which will be live on www.lse.ac.uk/events from 10.00am on Tuesday 17 February.

Additional Information:

For more information, visit www.lse.ac.uk/collections/spaceForThought/literaryWeekend.

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