2021: Event 22

(22) Caroline Smith and
Moniza Alvi
The Persistence of Memory:
On Isolation and Creativity

Sunday 18th April | 5-5:45pm | Free

Alvi and Smith tackle our themes from wide and differing perspectives. Caroline often writes of those isolated on the margins of society by conflict or identity, the undocumented and trapped in limbo. Moniza has written warmly of her immigrant parents and her British/Pakistani background. More recently, they both write of the more interior experiences of dealing with dementia, of loved-ones confined in their own interior world by age and physical decline. Their vivid and considered work addresses these topical concerns with flair and emotion witnessing to the persistence of memory in the role of creativity.

Sign Language interpretation provided

If you’ve already registered under another event there is no need to sign up again. One link will allow you access to any free event across the weekend so that you can drop in and out of the ones you’re most interested in.

The Festival is organising the bookselling in partnership with bookshop.org. There’s an expanded range of Festival titles for each event available from our bookshop.org affiliate shop. Take a look at them here. If you buy from our shop, you are supporting the Festival, the writers, the publishers, and, thanks to the way bookshop.org operates, independent booksellers generally.

Caroline Smith

Caroline Smith was born in Ilford, Essex and now lives in Wembley where she also works as an immigration and asylum caseworker for a London MP. Her most recent poetry book, The Immigration Handbook, published by Seren Books, was shortlisted for the 2016 Ted Hughes award. In summer 2020,  The Immigration Handbook  was translated into Italian and published as Il manual dell’immigrazione  by Edizioni 
dell’Asino. Caroline has been a contributor to a number of journals and anthologies including Staying Alive  published by Bloodaxe and 84, published by Verve Poetry Press. She has twice been a prize winner in the Troubadour poetry competition. 

Bernard O’Donoghue said of her work: 
The Immigration Handbook was certainly the most moving and inspiring book of poems I read last year. It really is a major book of political poems; I find it hard to think of a comparably successful achievement in that area’. 

Caroline SmithThe Immigration Handbook
ISBN: 9781781723210

Moniza Alvi

Moniza Alvi was born in Pakistan and grew up in Hertfordshire. She has published several collections of poetry, including  Homesick for the Earth (Bloodaxe 2011), versions of the French poet Jules Supervielle. Three of her books have been shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize: The Country at My Shoulder (OUP 1993), Europa (Bloodaxe 2008) and At the Time of Partition (Bloodaxe 2013). Her most recent collection is Blackbird, Bye Bye (Bloodaxe 2018) and a collection Fairoz is in preparation. Moniza now lives in Norfolk where she is researching, at UEA, the life and work of Stevie Smith. Image: Bob Coe

Moniza AlviBlackbird, Bye Bye
ISBN: 9781780374222

Moniza AlviEuropa
ISBN: 9781852248031

Moniza AlviSplit Poems 1990-2005
ISBN: 9781852248024

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté

Cathryn McShane-Kouyaté is a British Sign Language/ Welsh/English interpreter with 15 years experience of working in a wide range of settings including theatre, education, and community work.  In the last year Cathryn has become a familiar face from her interpreting work for the Welsh Government and the regular COVID-19 ministerial press briefings broadcast live across news channels in Wales.