Saturday, 14 February 2015


Of shoulders like continents and  love in Ferrari

Many years ago when I first met Jim Berger in  Tanzania  we  shared art, music and literature constantly. He was one of many foreign teachers working at International School Moshi.
During those pre-internet days when there were no social networking forums,  this sort of open exchange was uncommon and quite uplifting for two young writers from totally different cultures.  I  thought he was a very abstract writer. We are talking 1981 and 1982.  As a young African author  I thought like (the rest of my generation ) that literature and art should serve a purpose.
Stimulate, educate, liberate. Message art. Bob Marley, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Gil Scott Heron, that type of line.

Back then,  my writing was still in its infancy.  I had been an active  journalist for around five years. Had  few poems published. Was in a music band called Sayari.  Had just won a BBC Prize in 1981......little going on yet... not a total beginner, nevertheless.

Fast forward,  thirty something years later and in stumbles James Berger’s “Prior” 2013 collection.  I don’t think James has changed. He is still writing the same way. It is me who has a different perspective. James Berger is now a senior lecturer at Yale University, a professor running workshops and classes on language and literature. The man is still the same, yes, but with few more tricks up his steadily, evolving sleeves. Yes. Jim Berger  in evolution. Plays trombone instead of guitar (like those Moshi days), married with kids.  
 James Berger in London, Summer 2014...

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Wednesday, 4 February 2015


Another super duper  Exiled Writers Ink! ...occasion.

Amnesty International  offices in  London.
 Hidden along a quite street an area renowned for clubbing, young students, business and so on. But here we are seated talking of literature, rewards of literature, beauty of literature, lull and love of literature. Winners of literature... writing swimming pool.  Words power...

 Dr Jennifer Langer of EWI comperes the evening watched by Dr Fatieh Saudi- collecter of all the poems for the 2014 competition. As the dazzling evening hurtled, Dr Saudi also read a poem about the 1982 Lebanese bombing. Chilling memories.

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