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Event Details

Tue, November 18, 2014

18:00 – 19:30

Villa La Pietra

Dialogue with Somali-Italian writer Ubah Critina Ali Farah, Giovanna Bellesia, Smith College, and Isabella Ferretti, 66thand2nd Publishing House.  Introduced by Alessandra Di Maio, University of Palermo and Smith College.

Somali-Italian writer Ubah Cristina Ali Farah reminds us through her writing that Italy’s imperfect colonial past is still present.  In her stories we hear the voices of the colonized, the colonizers, and the African youth whose intimate concerns defy historical periodization.  Ali Farah will read from her work and will be in conversation with her English translator Giovanni Bellesia and the publisher of her latest novel Il comandante del Fiume Isabella Ferretti.

Featured Biographies

Ubah Cristina Ali Farah


Ubah Cristina Ali Farah was born in Verona, Italy, of a Somali father and an Italian mother. She grew up in Mogadishu but fled at the outbreak of the civil war at the age of eighteen. She lived in Rome where she taught Somali language and culture at Roma Tre University. She’s currently based in Brussels. She is a poet, novelist, playwright, and oral performer. She has published stories and poems in several anthologies and in 2006 she won the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize. Her novel Madre piccola (2007) was awarded the prestigious Vittorini Prize and has been translated into Dutch and English with the title Little Mother (2011). Her latest novel Il comandante del fiume (The commander of the river) has just been published in Italy (October, 2014).

Isabella Ferretti


66th and 2nd Publishing House

Giovanna Bellesia

Professor of Italian Language and Literature Department of Italian Language and Literature

Giovanna Bellesia-Contuzzi is a Professor of Italian Language and Literature at Smith College. Her research work has centered on Italian women writers and on the writings of recent immigrants to Italy. She has also translated several texts, along with her colleague Victoria Poletto. Their most recent publication is Little Mother, a novel on the Somali diaspora by Cristina Ali Farah, published by Indiana University Press in 2011.