Fatimah Asghar - "When We Were Sisters" - Danez Smith and Nate Marshall

Wednesday, October 26, 2022 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Fatimah Asghar

Fatimah Asghar will discuss their new novel When We Were Sisters. They will be joined in conversation by poets Danez Smith and Nate Marshall, who will give readings prior to the conversation. Following the reading will be an exclusive screening of Asghar's new short film, Retrieval

This event will be held in-person at Seminary Co-op. At this time, masks are required at in-store events. 

This event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Please register HERE.

About the book: In this heartrending, lyrical debut work of fiction, Fatimah Asghar traces the intense bond of three orphaned siblings who, after their parents die, are left to raise one another. The youngest, Kausar, grapples with the incomprehensible loss of their parents as she also charts out her own understanding of gender; Aisha, the middle sister, spars with her “crybaby” younger sibling as she desperately tries to hold on to her sense of family in an impossible situation; and Noreen, the eldest, does her best in the role of sister-mother while also trying to create a life for herself, on her own terms. As Kausar grows up, she must contend with the collision of her private and public worlds, and choose whether to remain in the life of love, sorrow, and codependency that she’s known or carve out a new path for herself. When We Were Sisters tenderly examines the bonds and fractures of sisterhood, names the perils of being three Muslim American girls alone against the world, and ultimately illustrates how those who’ve lost everything might still make homes in one another.

About the author: Fatimah Asghar is an artist who spans across different genres and themes. Their first book of poems If They Come For Us explored themes of orphaning, family, Partition, borders, shifting identity, and violence. Along with Safia Elhillo, they co-edited Halal If You Hear Me, an anthology for Muslim people who are also women, trans, gender non-conforming, and/ or queer. The anthology was built around the radical idea that there are as many ways of being Muslim as there are Muslim people in the world. They also wrote and co-created Brown Girls, an Emmy-nominated web series that highlights friendship among women of color. Their debut lyrical novel, When We Were Sisters, explores sisterhood, orphaning, and alternate family building, and is forthcoming October 2022. While these projects approach storytelling through various mediums and tones, at the heart of all of them is Fatimah’s unique voice, insistence on creating alternate possibilities of identity, relationships and humanity then the ones that society would box us into, and a deep play and joy embedded in the craft. 

About the interlocutors: Danez Smith is the author of three collections including Homie and Don’t Call Us Dead. They have won the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and have been a finalist for the NAACP Image Award in Poetry, the National Book Critic Circle Award, and the National Book Award. Danez's poetry and prose has been featured in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, Best American Poetry and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Danez is a member of the Dark Noise Collective. Former co-host of the Webby nominated podcast VS (Versus), they live in Minneapolis near their people. 

Nate Marshall is an award-winning author, editor, poet, playwright, performer, educator, speaker, and rapper. His book, Wild Hundreds, was honored with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association's award for Poetry Book of the Year and The Great Lakes College Association's New Writer Award. He is also an editor of The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Marshall is a member of The Dark Noise Collective and co-directs (with Eve Ewing) Crescendo Literary. He is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. He is from the South Side of Chicago and completed his MFA in creative writing at the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers' Program. He holds a BA in English and African American diaspora studies from Vanderbilt University. Marshall has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Poetry Foundation, and the University of Michigan.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637