Mihret Kebede, Shadi Rohana, Maaza Mengiste, Sumia Jaama, and Abraham T. Zere will judge the “To Speak Europe In Different Languages” Literary Award. The announcement was made on June 13, 2020.
At the end of the Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (In Exile) in February, a new prize was announced called “To Speak Europe In Different Languages.” It was aimed at “recognizing the wounds and wonders of language, in order to endorse and enhance the border-crossing, category-defying qualities of our contemporary world.” It is brought to us by the European Cultural Foundation in collaboration with The Babel Review of Translations and the Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (In Exile).
The prize made a callout for entries written in any language accompanied by a translation into one of this year’s focus languages: Amharic, Arabic, English, Somali, and Tigrinya. The winner would be published on Specimen Press, a multilingual web-magazine which through translation gives voice to the multifaceted world, and get a 2,000 Euros cash prize. The deadline for entries is July 1, 2020.
On June 13, the judges for the new award were unveiled and they are Mihret kebede, Shadi Rohana, Maaza Mengiste, Sumia Jaama, and Abraham T. Zere. Below are their bios.
Mihret Kebede is an artist/poet who graduated from Addis Ababa University School of Fine Arts and Design in painting with distinction in 2007 and earned her MA in arts from the same school in 2016. Mihret has participated in several local and international art exhibitions, workshops, residencies and collaborative art projects. Beyond her artistic practices she is also known for organizing local and international artistic events and festivals. She is also co-organizing the Addis Video Art Festival together with its initiator Ezra Wube. Mihret is a PhD-in-practice program candidate at the academy of fine arts with a working title ‘Conversing with Silence.’
Maaza Mengiste is the author of the novels, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books; and The Shadow King, one of New York Times’ Notable Books of 2019 and TIME’s 100 Must-Read Books of 2019. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places.
Shadi Rohana is a Mexico City-based literary translator, translating between Arabic, Spanish and English. He has introduced and translated a number of Latin American authors from Spanish to Arabic, as well as speeches and declarations from the EZLN in Chiapas. He pursued Latin American Studies in the United States (Swarthmore College) and Mexico (UNAM), and is currently a full-time faculty member at the Centre for Asian and African Studies at El Colegio de México, where he teaches Arabic language and literature.
Sumia Jaama is a poet, linguist, educator and coder. Winner of FourHubs’ 2018 Poetry Prize, she is a Barbican Young Poet Alumni and a recent graduate of the Creative Writing and Education MA at Goldsmith. She has been commissioned numerous times by Royal Academy of Arts and Keats House Museum, having performed there as well as the Southbank Centre and Barbican Centre. Sumia has run creative writing and coding workshops in multiple spaces and programmes including Keats House’s Creative writing Summer School, The American School, Queen Mary University and Roundhouse. She is a co-founder of Project Sawti.
Abraham T. Zere
Abraham T. Zere is a US-based exiled Eritrean journalist/writer whose work has been published in The Guardian, The Independent, Al Jazeera English, Dissent Magazine, and Index on Censorship Magazine. He is the executive director of PEN Eritrea in exile.