By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 11 October 2013:
As part of this year’s Tripoli International Book Fair, there were book readings from two British . . .[restrict]writers, who shared their experiences of multiculturalism in the UK with the Libyan audience.
Welsh novelist Owen Martell, who has four books published – including three in Welsh – read an excerpt from his English novel Intermission. Published in January this year, Intermission tells the story of a jazz pianist who is forced to stop playing for six months following the sudden death of his best friend.
British-Nigerian poet and playwright Inua Ellams, who moved to London at the age of 12, recited a number of his poems, including Neverself and Negro Tale.
The readings were followed by discussion and debate, with both writers highlighting their multicultural backgrounds.
Ellams’ verse deals with issues of identity, and the effects of moving between different places and cultures. “My identity is African, British, African-American and Nigerian,” he explained.
Martell said he used the English and Welsh languages to write from different perspectives.
“When I write in Welsh, I try to make my emotions more rigorous. But when I write in English, my intellect is more rigorous,” he said. He added that he felt at ease writing in either language.
Writing for both Martell and Ellams is also part of a quest for something new. “I came to writing just because I am curious about things and life in general,” Martell said.
Ellams said that he was inspired by the search for a contemporary type of spirituality existing in an urban environment, “to try to find a new language.”
Audience questions focused on the process of moving from one language or culture to another for multicultural writers. There were also questions about reasons for choosing to write in more than one language.
Both the writers said they were pleased to be there and found Libyans welcoming and friendly. “I was delighted to accept the invitation to come to this book fair,” said Martell.
The writers were invited to participate in the Tripoli Book Fair by the British Council in Libya. [/restrict]