Somali-born Canadian poet and activist Ahmed ‘KNOWMADIC’ Ali to inspire youngsters in Cardiff and London
Literature Wales has teamed up with Spread the Word to bring internationally acclaimed and award-winning Somali-born Canadian poet and activist Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali to the UK. He is a full-time poet, writer, actor, comedian, speaker and youth worker and an active member of the Breath in Poetry collective and poetry slam scene in Edmonton, Canada.
Knowmadic will visit Cardiff and London to share his love of poetry and his knowledge of how to run poetry slams. He will work with disadvantaged youngsters, perform his poetry, meet Somali poets, and network with other artists and organisations. He will also share his knowledge of running successful slam poetry events with activists in Cardiff and London, including the Young People’s Laureate Wales, Martin Daws.
Literature Wales Chief Executive, Lleucu Siencyn, said: “It’s an honour to be able to host such a renowned artistic talent as Ahmed ‘Knowmadic’ Ali, and by doing so engage with the writing community on our doorstep in Butetown. He will be an inspiration for us as we develop the slam poetry scene in Wales, and in showing how activism has a place in literature.”
Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word says: “We are absolutely delighted to be supporting Knowmadic on his visit to the UK alongside Literature Wales. We are especially looking forward to welcoming him to London and to helping him to not only build his poetry networks and meet and work with emerging poetry talent, but also to provide opportunities for him to engage with young people in the capital.”
Knowmadic’s visit to the UK is generously funded by a grant from the British Council’s International Literature Showcase (ILS) Legacy Fund. It was at the ILS in Norwich (organised by Writers’ Centre Norwich and British Council) in March 2015 that Knowmadic and representatives from Literature Wales and Spread the Word first met. Knowmadic’s visit to Cardiff and London is a direct result of the networking opportunities offered at the ILS.
ILS organisers British Council and Writers’ Centre Norwich said: “It’s wonderful to see inspiring collaborative projects like this come out of the International Literature Showcase events that we held in Norwich. We’re delighted to support Knowmadic’s UK visit: he is a poet of integrity and passion and will, I’m sure, share this enthusiasm with young people from all backgrounds in Cardiff and London.”
In Cardiff, Knowmadic will work with disadvantaged children who attend Cardiff Grassroots centre, as well as with pupils from Fitzalan High School and Ysgol Gyfun Gymunedol Penweddig, Aberystwyth (the inaugural National Youth Slam Champions 2015). He will also meet with representatives from Black History Month Wales, Butetown History & Arts Centre, National Theatre Wales and members of the Somali De Gabay group. A networking event in Butetown organised by Wales PEN Cymru and National Theatre Wales TEAM will offer the chance for Knowmadic to meet other writers and refugees living in Cardiff.
Public performance in Cardiff
On Tuesday 6 October at 7.00 pm, Knowmadic will perform with Welsh rapper and poet Rufus Mufasa and Young People’s Laureate Wales Martin Daws on Wales Millennium Centre’s Glanfa Stage. Following the event, attendees will have the opportunity to meet the performers and other writers.
Activities in London
In London, Knowmadic will take part in workshops and activities on and around National Poetry Day (Thursday 8 October) with the newly announced Young Poet Laureate for London. He will also give workshops to the Roundhouse ‘Wax Lyrical’ Poets and to youth groups, including Refugee Youth, meet other writers and activists and publicly perform his work.
Knowmadic hopes that his visit to Cardiff and London will enable him to compare and contrast Somali communities’ involvement in the arts in the UK to that in Canada, learn about UK organisations’ management of young poet laureate programmes and he also hopes to identify writers to invite to an international poetry festival in Edmonton, Canada in 2016.