Global fragmentation and the search for identity are reshaping the world. The last century has seen increasing waves of migration, often driven by the economics of wealth or war. The struggle to console country, culture and identity can be seen in all its urgency and complexity in the lives of migrants and clashes between these competing influences can turn some people towards extreme ideologies in the hope of finding simple solutions to complex problems.

Join three writers as they discuss the themes of migration and radicalisation that lie at the heart of their new books and demonstrate how it is possible, even imperative, to address these issues on the page.

Johannes Anyuru’s A Storm Blew In is part the story of a search for identity and part mourning for the loss of a homeland across two generations. The lyrical longing of Anyuru’s writing countenances a globalised world in which everywhere could be anywhere and nobody is wholly at home.

The same factors lead in a different direction in Tariq Mehmood’s Song of Gulzarina, which travels from Bradford to Pakistan and back again. Examining the politics of race and war and their relationship with radicalisation, it throws light on a world where local wars have global players and far-reaching consequences.

Tabish Khair’s Just Another Jihadi Jane tells the tale of Islamist radicalisation from inside the lives of two young, Yorkshire girls. Seduced by the extremist religious communities of social media, the girls flee England for Islamist Syria. Once there, they slowly realise that their new reality is a narrow, brutal universe apart from the one they had imagined.

This important event will examine the search for identity in an increasingly war-torn, fragmented world and the extreme consequences this can bring.

About The Speakers

Johannes Anyuru

Johannes Anyuru is a poet, novelist and playwright. He made his debut in 2003 with the collection of poems Only The Gods Are New.  His latest highly anticipated novel De kommer att drunkna i sina mödrars tårar/The Rabbit Yard (2017) enjoyed immense success in Sweden and went straight to the top of the critics’ lists.

Tabish Khair

Tabish Khair has worked as a journalist in India and is now employed as an academic in Denmark. He is currently a Leverhulme Guest Professor at the University of Leeds. Winner of the All India Poetry Prize and shortlisted for more than ten major fiction awards, Khair published Just Another Jihadi Jane in late 2016.

Tariq Mehmood

Tariq Mehmood’s novels include:Hand On the Sun, Penguin 1983; While There Is light, Comma;You’re Not Proper, HopeRoad, 2015 and Song Of Gulzarina, Daraja 2017. He was a central defendant in a case known as the Bradford 12. He was acquitted. He co-directed the multiple award-winning documentary Injustice.

About The Chair

Claire Chambers

Claire Chambers is a Senior Lecturer in Global Literature at the University of York, where she teaches twentieth and twenty-first century writing in English from South Asia, the Arab world, and their diasporas. Her previous books are British Muslim Fictions, Imagining Muslims in South Asia and the Diaspora, and Britain Through Muslim Eyes.