DELVE-Spring 2018: Refugees and Storytelling: Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West


DELVE-Spring 2018: Refugees and Storytelling: Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West


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Sunday, April 22, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (seminar meeting at Literary Arts)
Sunday, April 29, from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. (a “field trip” to Portland Art Museum’s “Common Ground” photography exhibit by Fazal Sheikh)
Thursday, May 3, Thursday, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. (a visit to IRCO headquarters, Immigrant and Refugees Community Organization, to hear community stories and discussion)
Sunday, May 6, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (seminar meeting at Literary Arts)

“We are all refugees from our childhoods. And so we turn, among other things, to stories,” writes Mohsin Hamid in Exit West. In this seminar, we’ll begin with Exit West as a literary text with its unique story about two refugees and their love. The novel will serve as our touchstone as we examine the contemporary migration and displacement crisis around the world. The unique format of this seminar strives to provide Delve participants with literary discussion sessions alongside opportunities to hear a range of voices and experiences including: a visit to the Portland Art Museum to view and discuss Fazal Sheikh’s photography exhibit on migration and displacement “Common Ground”; and a very special guided visit to the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, where we’ll have the opportunity to hear individual refugees’ stories of arriving in Portland, including their thoughts about Exit West.

Hamid is a Pakistani writer and author of several bestselling novels, including The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which (along with Exit West) was shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize. Exit West is the Multnomah County Library’s 2018 Everybody Reads book.

Reading List: Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid



Isatou Barry is originally from The Gambia and has lived in Portland for three years. She works with newly arrived refugee youth at Sun school sites for the Immigrant and Refugee Community’s Africa House.

Blair Orfall holds a PhD in Comparative Literature, focusing on South Asian Literature and Visual Culture and has taught for 20 years. In addition to running the Keck Interactive Learning Center at Lewis & Clark College, she works with English language learners in the community, and is a volunteer and board member with IRCO’s Africa House.