Sulaiman Addonia in Tout-monde - #BackToEarth
'Ixelles Ponds' - video reading (English spoken)
"Oh! The early mornings, the fragments of dawn falling over Flagey, the heaving breaths of joggers lapping around me, as the poet with a red scarf over his shoulders sits by my side, writing in his notebook."
As we listen to the Ixelles Ponds speaking about their relationship to people, the author of this monologue, Sulaiman Addonia is filmed by Shalan Alhamwy as he walks alongside the well-known Brussels landmark.
On request of the online Winternachten international literature festival The Hague 2021, the Eritrean-Ethiopian author gave a voice to a beloved non-human who, in his view, should have one. The video reading premiered at the Winternachten festival in the program #BackToEarth: Tout-monde that was live streamed on Saturday 16 January 2021.
The image that we have of our world is purely human: a human-centred picture. It's up to us to give non-humans a voice and a stage. That is why in #BackToEarth: Tout-monde, the programme created by Nisrine Mbarki for the online Winternachten festival 2021, we gave the floor to the non-human elements of our world. It was an existentially poetic evening in which the world was experienced from a different, more complete, perspective by writers and poets.
Sulaiman Addonia is an Eritrean-Ethiopian-British novelist. His first novel, The Consequences of Love (2008), shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and translated into more than 20 languages, is a love story set in Jeddah. Silence is My Mother Tongue (2018), his second novel, has been longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. This second novel tells of Saba, a girl in an East African refugee camp. Devoid of school and books, she struggles to give meaning to her own existence and to protect her brother. Both resist the roles imposed by their gender and environment.
Addonia currently lives in Brussels, where he has launched the Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (in Exile), a creative-writing academy for refugees and asylum seekers. Together with Specimen Press, he co-founded a new literary competition and prize for hybrid and collective writing: To Speak Europe in Different Languages.