Readings by Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, Sojourner Ahebee, & Zeyn Joukhadar

Please join us for an evening of poetry and prose with
Sham-e-Ali Nayeem, Sojourner Ahebee, & Zeyn Joukhadar!

About Sham-e-Ali Nayeem's CITY OF PEARLS

In her debut book, City of Pearls, Sham-e-Ali Nayeem’s poetry offers a meditation on healing from grief. The poems ask the reader, what happens when we lose our anchor? Weaving together memories of her late father and ancestral home of Hyderabad, Nayeem’s poems explore landscapes of loss. She writes from the perspective of an Indian Muslim American who draws from the languages of her life to compose a poetics of vulnerability and tenderness. Known as the “City of Pearls,” Hyderabad’s jewels become a metaphor for resilience and growth. Each poem gains their opulence from the transmutation of the grit of migration, displacement and loss.

"This book is a hamlet, a jewel box, a compass. Sham-e-Ali Nayeem strings the tender odds and ends of memory into a dazzling odyssey across the continents of daughterhood and motherhood. We are born from places as much as people, these poems remind us. City of Pearls soars with the dignity mined from a life lit with leavings.”
—Yolanda Wisher, author of Monk Eats an Afro

"There is nothing more important to love than memory, and Sham-e-Ali’s stunning debut collection is full of love. Awash in the fragrance of mourning and yearning, these poems stretch out, split into tributaries, condense into coral clouds – above all, they nourish. Both affectionate and merciless, this book is a “place where it all worked out.” It is a gift to breathe with it."
—Bao Phi, author of Thousand Star Hotel

SHAM-E-ALI NAYEEM is a poet, visual artist and author of the poetry collection, City of Pearls (UpSet Press 2019). Born in Hyderabad, India and raised in both the UK and the US, she is a former public interest lawyer supporting economic justice for survivors of family and intimate partner violence. Sham-e-Ali is the recipient of the Loft Literary Center Spoken Word Immersion Fellowship.

SOJOURNER AHEBEE writes stories about African diaspora identities and the eternal question of home and belonging. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Atlantic,  The Academy of American Poets (Poem A Day), Muzzle Magazine, For Harriet, Winter Tangerine Review, Apiary Magazine and elsewhere.  In 2013 she served as a National Student Poet, the nation's highest honor for young poets presenting original work. Sojourner was invited to the White House by former First Lady, Michelle Obama, to garner her award.  Her debut poetry chapbook, Reporting from the Belly of the Night, was released in August 2017.  Sojourner believes not in the boat that floated her here but what she’ll do with the water.

ZEYN JOUKHADAR is the author of the novels The Map of Salt and Stars (Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, 2018) and The Thirty Names of Night (Atria/Simon & Schuster, 2020). His work has appeared in Salon, The Paris Review Daily, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. The Map of Salt and Stars, currently being translated into sixteen languages, was a 2018 Middle East Book Award winner in Youth Literature and a 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards Finalist in Historical Fiction.

Event date: 
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm
Event address: 
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
City of Pearls Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937357894
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: UpSet Press - April 9th, 2019

Salt Houses Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328915856
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: Mariner Books - June 5th, 2018

The Map of Salt and Stars: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501169052
Availability: Available to Ship
Published: Atria Books - March 12th, 2019