Marcia H. HowardAuthor in Residence

2020 Author in Residence

ANDRÉ NAFFIS-SAHELY is the author of the collection The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin, 2017) and the pamphlet The Other Side of Nowhere (Rough Trade Books, 2019). He is also the editor of The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature (Pushkin Press, 2019). He is from Abu Dhabi, but was born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Harper’s, Poetry, New Statesman, Playboy, The Believer, The Economist, Financial Times and World Literature Today.

ABOUT The Promised Land: Poems from Itinerant Life (Penguin,2017)


Flitting from the mud-soaked floors of Venice to the glittering, towering constructions of the Abu Dhabi of his childhood and early adulthood, from the ‘disposable cities’ composed of shanty towns and rough encampments which spring up wherever new resources are discovered to present-day London and North America, André Naffis-Sahely’s bracingly plain-spoken first collection gathers portraits of promised lands and those who go in search of them: travellers, labourers, dreamers; the hopeful and the dispossessed. This is poetry as reportage, as much an act of memory as of sinuous, clear-eyed vision. As this arresting new poet has remarked elsewhere: “I don’t like poems that invent memories; I have enough of my own.”

“Naffis-Sahely’s poems usher the reader in to a world of reversals and risk… His narratives hold memory to account.” ― David Harsent

“I much admired André Naffis-Sahely’s sharp meditations on our vast but remarkably homogeneous global landscape.” ― Pankaj Mishra


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