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South African born poet to represent NI at multilingual poetry festival in Brussels

Wednesday 20th October 2021 at 8am 0 Comments

Poet, storyteller and playwright Nandi Jola is representing Northern Ireland at the 11th TRANSPOESIE festival in Brussels.

Her poem Entomology has been translated into French and Dutch and is currently on display in public spaces and parks around the Belgian capital. Nandi was selected to be a part of the international project by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Office of the Northern Ireland Executive in Brussels and will present her work at a special virtual event at the Listz Institute on October 21st.

Launched in 2011, TRANSPOESIE is an annual poetry festival organised by EUNIC Brussels (the local network of European Union National Institutes for Culture) and its partners. It was inspired by the successful and long-standing Poems on the Underground in London and Wiersze w Metrze in Warsaw, as well as similar projects run in various capital cities all over the world such as Paris, New York and Montreal.

The festival celebrates multilingualism by bringing poetry in as many languages as possible to Brussels.

Sonya Whitefield, Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Nandi to see her work translated into other languages and be put on public display alongside other poets from across the world. She follows in the footsteps of Stephen Sexton and Máire Zepf who have previously represented Northern Ireland at the festival and we very much look forward to seeing Nandi present her work at the virtual TRANSPOESIE event on October 21st.”

Lynsey Moore, Director of the Northern Ireland Executive Office in Brussels added:

"The Brussels Platform continues to provide the ideal opportunity to showcase our talent on a European stage and to highlight the region's ever growing reputation as a centre of excellence in the arts.”

Born in Gqeberha, South Africa, Nandi grew up under the apartheid regime and began writing poetry at the age of fourteen. At 21 she left home to come to Northern Ireland and her work reflects both Belfast and South Africa and the many connections that the people have in common.

Speaking about TRANSPOESIE Nandi said:

“I just wanted to thank the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Queens University Belfast for opening doors to opportunities, thank my publisher Doire Press and raise a glass to ABC Council Area, my County Armagh for making the Longlist to the bid for City of Culture 2025. I will to be their first Black Poet in Residence in 2022.”

About the artist:

Nandi Jola an active member of the Northern Ireland arts community, working as a writer, cultural schools ambassador, artist and facilitator.

In 2010, she founded the ‘nandijproject’, with the intention to tackle women trafficking and sexual exploitation and has been a key figure in many significant arts projects including the Irish Writers Centre XBorders project, Same/Difference project, the Poetry Jukebox, the Sky and You Are Too Big poetry collective. Her play “The Journey” opened the prestigious International Literature Festival Dublin in October 2020 and in 2021 she was selected to take part in the BBC’s Writers Room project.

Her debut poetry collection, Home Is Neither Here Nor There will be published in Spring/Summer 2022 with Doire Press.

Entomology

Our bodies are wiretaps
Carried by a cuboid vessel
Into the viscera of sphere
Like weevils bare to illumination
Leaning on the nearest thing
The thing that is itinerant
Of two dimensions at the speed of light.
Transporting us through quotidian noise

For more information on the TRANSPOESIE Festival go to www.transpoesie.eu .

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