Wednesday 2 November 2022

Alexandros Plasatis (ed.) et al, "the other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature," vol.2

the other side of hope: journeys in refugee and immigrant literature is a UK-based literary magazine edited by refugees and immigrants. Established in 2021, we exist to serve and celebrate the refugee and immigrant communities worldwide. We publish one print issue and one online issue per year. 

You can read about the first print issue of the other side of hope on Creative Writing at Leicester here. The second print issue has now been published and is available to buy through the magazine's website hereCopies can be borrowed from Public Libraries across the UK and are also available in many independent bookshops. The second print issue is foreworded by patrons A. M. Dassu and Lord Alf Dubs, and features refugee and immigrant writers from around the world. 

"To refer to the other side of hope simply as 'a literary magazine' feels like an injustice. It is a beautiful, complex and painful collection of short stories, non-fiction and poems written and edited by refugees and immigrants ... It constitutes a tool for building empathy, for generating understanding, and an avenue through which to become immersed in the lives of refugees and immigrants for a brief, yet emotive period of time ... You have no choice but to remove your blinkers and disassemble your barriers, blinking in the glaring light of inhumanity, yet reassured that there is enough humanity within us and between us to sustain each other, if we were willing to reach across arbitrary divides ... This literature invites us to deconstruct the categories of 'alien,' 'immigrant,' 'refugee' and 'other,' in order to simply recognise the humanity, the beauty, and the struggle in all of us, regardless of country of origin or means of arrival" - The Norwich Radical.

The second issue includes:

artwork by Dmitry Borshch, a political refugee from the USSR to the US in 1989, and, since February of this year, a refugee again, fleeing the war from Dnipropetrovsk to New York. 

fiction by Victoria Buitron who hails from Ecuador and resides in Connecticut; H. T. Brickner, originally from China, who lives in Minnesota; Kasia Kokowska, an immigrant from Poland living in Scotland; Farha Mukri, born in Mumbai, residing in Chicago; Barlow Crassmont, a former refugee from Bosnia who lives in the United States.

poetry by Lester Gómez Medina, born in Nicaragua, raised in Costa Rica, settled in London; Art and Writing Hearth at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants; Tatiana Dolgushina, a Soviet refugee, raised in South America before immigrating to the United States; Nuha Fariha, a first-generation Bangladeshi American; Mahima Kaur, a Londoner from India; Asiye Betül, a refugee from Turkey residing in Glasgow; Lina Fadel, a Syrian who has made Edinburgh home; Nashwa Nasreldin, an Egyptian who was born in Kuwait and lives in England; Elias Udo-Ochi, born in Nigeria, residing in Accra; Monica Clarke, a South African refugee who was granted asylum in the UK; Zad El Bacha, a migrant from Lebanon via Italy; Yaz Nin, born in Kibris, raised in Tottenham.

non-fiction by Zoë Blaylock, an Italian-born immigrant to the United States; Ali Motamedi from Iran who lives in New York City; Yin F Lim, a Malaysian-born who lives in the UK; Tamara Haque, Bangladeshi by birth, with roots in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Australia.

book review by Angus W. McGregor, citizen of the United States, making Japan his new home.

Our second issue was made possible with National Lottery funding through Arts Council England. 

About the editorial team of the other side of hope

Founder & Lead Editor Alexandros Plasatis is an immigrant who writes fiction in English, his second language. His first book, Made by Sea and Wood, in Darkness: A Novel in Stories (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021), was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Prize. Stories from this book have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. His work has been published in US, UK, Indian and Canadian magazines and anthologies. He has a PhD in ethnography-based Creative Writing, lives in Leicester, and works with displaced and homeless people. His website is here

Fiction Editor Rubina Bala was born in Albania just after the fall of the country’s Communist regime and grew up through a chaotic political scene that has shaped her passion for writing and ensuring the right stories are told. She then immigrated to the UK where she completed a first class degree in Creative Writing and Journalism. Since then she has worked as an interpreter for asylum seekers as well as participating in writing projects in marginalised communities.

Poetry Editor Malka Al-Haddad lives in the UK for ten years, having previously taught Arabic literary criticism at Kufa University in Iraq. Her poetry collection, Birds Without Sky: Poems from Exile (Harriman House), was longlisted for the Leicester Book of the Year award 2018. Malka has an MA in Politics of Conflict and Violence from the University of Leicester. A defender of human rights, member of the Iraqi and American reconciliation project and Leicester Civil Rights Movement, Malka has performed her poems at the UK Parliament and at The Southbank Centre, London. Her poetry captures the history and culture of her homeland and is a memoir of her journey into exile and the welcome she found in Britain.

Non-fiction Editor Maria Rovisco is Associate Professor in Sociology at the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds, UK. She has research interests in cosmopolitanism, new activisms, citizenship, migrant and refugee arts, and visual culture. Among her recent publications is Taking the Square: Mediated Dissent and Occupations of Public Space (2016). She is currently writing a book on cosmopolitanism, art and the political imagination, and co-editing a book on visual politics in the Global South.

Reviews & Interviews Editor Amir Darwish is a British Syrian poet & writer of Kurdish origin who lives in London. Born in Aleppo, he came to Britain as an asylum seeker in 2003. He has a BA in History from Teesside University, an MA in International Relations of the Middle East from Durham University, and an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University. As a poet he published his work in the UK, USA, Pakistan, India, Finland, Turkey, Canada, Singapore & Mexico. His work was translated into Arabic, Bengali, Estonian, Finnish, Italian, Spanish and Turkish, amongst other languages. Amir is currently a PhD student at the University of Northampton. Twitter: @darwish_amir

Design & Art Director Olivier Llouquet is a French visual ethnographer, designer and filmmaker, based in Nottingham. He studied in Freie Universität Berlin and conducted a year-long ethnographic research in Leicester, engaging with refugees and asylum seekers through creative projects and filmmaking. 

Video Editor Parang Khezri is a Kurdish Iranian filmmaker educated to postgraduate level in film. She has lived in the UK for the past ten years. Parang became interested in film as a young girl in Iran, where she viewed film as the only place where one could truly experience freedom and where anything could be possible. Parang loves the freedom of making film and allowing her imagination to fly untethered through cinema, and is interested in surrealism, psychology, and feminism.

Social Media Manager Judy Qeis is a Syrian of Palestinian origin, who moved to England with her family at the age of 13. Having lived in a country captivated by tyranny, she hopes to make a shift in people’s perspectives about such regimes and trigger some action towards freedom of speech through studying journalism.

Communications Manager Elahe Ziai came to the UK in 2014, and after completing her BA in Education and Social Services, she was employed by Scottish Refugee Council as a caseworker for four years where the majority of her clients were newly granted refugees. Currently she works at IMIX as their community outreach officer and tries to empower people with lived experience of seeking sanctuary, to share their positive stories in the media.

A. M. Dassu and Lord Alf Dubs are patrons of the project; Sepideh Moafi is our ambassador.

You can visit our website for more information on the project here. Below, you can read a sample poem from the second print issue.  

me and my family get lost in the ikea showrooms 
we visit the colourful rooms, the built-in kitchens
and the shiny wood garden loungers. we look at
the graphics of children sitting around the dining table.
blonde kids waiting to eat their lasagne. blonde kids
with their parents' arms around their bodies. happy 
blonde kids. my mother likes to look at furniture,
she says oh look how comfortable those beds look,
it would be a joy to sleep on them, look at that bookshelf! 
we can finally fit all our books in one place.  my mother never 
got to build a house of her own. it’s been with her 
since bridehood; the urge to make a home. walking through 
the showrooms, i do not know how to tell my mother that
she’s given birth to empty homes
begging to be occupied with love. 

ikea is western, big and blue. it is too big for a refugee
to grasp. when you’ve lived running from land.
it is the colour of large borders, that keep 
the people out, and the furniture in. 

me and my family are afraid of colourful rooms.
we’re afraid of shiny wood, of large dining tables 
that would fit us all. we’ll never buy a comfortable bed, 
nor a bookshelf to fit our books. not because 
we can’t afford it, but rather 
because of the fear of finding out whether
or not lasagne on the table can make a happy kid. 
me and my family are afraid of each other, 
we cannot bear to know that we could
make a home, and still be missing.

 - Asiye Betül

No comments:

Post a Comment