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The Poetry Translation Centre, alongside the Democratic Education Network and the Department of Politics and International Relations, presents a panel discussion on The Politics of Translation. We will be discussing what translation means in contemporary times. This event will allow us to have a varied debate on literary translation by acknowledging that the act of translation happens in a political realm.

We will also have spoken word performances from two fast-rising poets: Usaama Minhas and Marika McKennell.

Questions that will be addressed include: could English translation ever be considered evil – possibly a necessary evil? Or is it simply part of transmitting culture in contemporary times? How useful is translation for diaspora communities?

Register for a free ticket via Eventbrite.


Hanna Ali is writer, poet, Teaching Fellow and a PhD candidate in SOAS, University of London, where she specialises in Afro-Arab identity and how migrant writers in Britain negotiate questions of home and (un)belonging. She is also a former radio presenter who speaks four languages and has lived in six countries. She was recently featured in BuzzFeed’s 21 Black British Muslims You Should Know About.

Atef Alshaer is a lecturer in Arabic Studies at the University of Westminster. He first came to London after completing his Bachelor's degree in English Language and Literature at the University of Birzeit in Palestine. He has written several research papers and monographs, including his book, Poetry and Politics in the Modern Arab World.

Alireza Abiz is an Iranian poet, literary critic and translator. Abiz has written extensively on Persian contemporary literature and culture. Abiz is an award-winning translator and has translated some leading English language poets into Persian, including WB Yeats, Ted Hughes, Basil Bunting, Derek Walcott, Allen Ginsberg and CK Williams.


Marika Mckennell is an actress, playwright, spoken word poet, and an artist in residence at the Roundhouse, London. She also works as a teacher in a pupil referral unit in Hackney. Her work is politically fuelled, informed and inspired by her mixed heritage and involvement in Hip Hop Education.

Usaama Minhas started writing in his teens and later spent a year in New York on an actor training conservatory for theatre, film and TV. In New York, Usaama started performing at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Pyramid Club. On returning to the UK, Usaama won the Britain's Got Bars rap battle tournament at French Montana’s show at the Indigo at The O2, sharing the stage with Lady Leshurr and Ghetts.