Choman Hardi's Book Launch Begins Orange the World Campaign at AUIS | The American University of Iraq Sulaimani

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Choman Hardi's Book Launch Begins Orange the World Campaign at AUIS

Thursday, November 26, 2015 - 18:15

Dr. Choman Hardi published her second collection of poems, Considering the Women, earlier this month.


November 25, 2015 - Distinguished poet and activist, and Chair of the English department at The American University of Iraqi, Sulaimani (AUIS), Dr. Choman Hardi, published her second collection of poems, Considering the Women, earlier this month. Her new book explores the ambiguous relationship between immigrants and their homeland, and the plight of women in a patriarchal society and as survivors of political violence.

"The book’s central sequence, Anfal, draws on Hardi’s post-doctoral research on women survivors of genocide in Kurdistan. The stories of the survivors are framed by the radically shifting voice of the researcher, naive and matter-of-face at the start; grieved, abstracted and confused by the end...Choman Hardi's second collection in English ends with a new beginning found in new love and in taking time off from the journey of traumatic discovery to enjoy the small, ordinary things of life," as described in the excerpt on the book cover.  

Earlier in November, Hardi was invited to a book tour in the UK by the publisher Bloodaxe, along with two American poets, Kim Addonizio and Tony Hoagland. She had the opportunity to read from her new collection at various events and venues throughout the tour. The book tour started with the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival and lead to readings at King’s CollegeNewcastle University and her alma mater, Queen’s College Oxford. Hardi also attended the Humber Mouth Literature Festival in Hull and the Woodstock Poetry Festival as part of the tour. The book has also been given a recommendation by the Poetry Book Society (PBS), UK as one of the PBS selections for Winter 2015. 

Hardi formally launched her book in Kurdistan at an event hosted at AUIS on November 25, 2015. The launch was attended in great numbers by members of the local community as well as students, staff and faculty members at AUIS. The book launch coincided with the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls, and marked the first day of the campaign on campus to raise awareness of gender violence, in support of the global “Orange the World” campaign.

AUIS Interim President, Dr. Esther Mulnix, welcomed the guests to the launch before a trio of musicians from Sulaimani - Arayan Jalal, Rasty Jmal Kurdi and Zana Aziz - gave a melodious performance on guitar, saz and cello. Afterwards, AUIS students, Shatoo Diyar Bakir and Zhiwar Jawhar, spoke briefly on the issue of gender violence and the students’ efforts to raise awareness on campus. “This year AUIS will go orange. Next year, we will make Kurdistan orange,” they said to an applause by the audience.

Dr. Hardi recited a few poems from her new collection, including ‘Dib’s Camp, the Women’s Prison’, which was recently selected as The Guardian’s Poem of the Week. She also read a few poems from her first book, Life for Us. Noted Irish poet and academic, Bernard O'Donoghue, in praise of Choman Hardi's first collection of poetry had said: "I have rarely read a book which so indisputably establishes the capacity of poetry to express the historical and political... poetry makes something happen here; the book answers the poem's question "Could you show me where that is on the map?" more memorably than any map or political analysis."

At the end, Dr. Hardi presented copies of her new book to the Sulaimani Public Library and Zheen Archive. After the readings, guests were invited by the students to hand-paint and write messages against gender violence on a piece of fabric. The painted orange piece will be displayed on campus throughout the internationally marked 16 days of activism to end violence against women. Shiereen Saib, project manager at the AUIS Center for Gender and Development Studies (CGDS), served as master of the ceremony.

We would like to thank the sponsors of the book launch, Chalak’s Place, who provided refreshments and snacks for the guests attending the event. 

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