Ribka Sibhatu and André Naffis-Sahely in conversation

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Poet and translator Andre Naffis-Sahely.

23 July 2020 Entrance is free — Visit now

Manchester Poetry Library might not have actually thrown open its physical doors yet, but that’s no problem as the brand-new establishment teams up with the Poetry Translation Centre to invite you to the virtual celebration of the publication, in English, of poet Ribka Sibhatu’s collection Aulò! Aulò! Aulò!

Sibhatu will read from the book, a volume of “confessional” and “taboo-busting” lyric poems and longer politically tinged narrative poems, originally written in Tigrinya (the language most widely spoken in Eritrea and the Tigray region in the northern part of Ethiopia), Amharic and Italian, and published for the first time here in translation in July. The selected poems and fables of Aulò! Aulò! Aulò! reflect on the immigrant experience in Europe and draw – literally – from the oral poetic tradition of Eritrea, where Sibhatu was born – in the capital Asmara – in 1962. Eritrea’s folkloric canon of oral literature has been handed down through the ages in the form of ‘aulòs’, which means: ‘Please give me permission! I have something to say publicly in rhyme!’

Poet Ribka Sibhatu will be talking to her translator André Naffis-Sahely about Italian and East African poetry, some wider political issues and the nitty-gritty of the translation process

After being wrongly imprisoned as a teenager, Sibhatu – a poet, writer and refugee-rights activist – fled to Addis Ababa, where she completed her education. In 1986, she married a Frenchman and began a new life in Lyons where her daughter was born, moving to Italy when the marriage ended. It was here that her much-admired Aulò! Canto poesia dall’Eritrea (Sinnos) first came out in 1993, before being revised and expanded in 2009.

During this event, Sibhatu will be talking to her translator André Naffis-Sahely about Italian and East African poetry, some wider political issues and the nitty-gritty of the translation process. The pair have worked closely together for over 10 years, with Naffis-Sahely (himself from Abu Dhabi, but born in Venice to an Iranian father and an Italian mother) translating Sibhatu’s poetry to bring it to the attention of English-speaking audiences – successfully, as Aulò! Aulò! Aulò! is the winner of a PEN Translates award.

This event on the special Ribka Sibhatu Tour, part of the World Poet Series, is supported by the European Union’s Creative Europe culture programme.

23 July 2020 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Ribka Sibhatu and André Naffis-Sahely in conversation

caprismcr - restaurant
City Centre
Capri’s Cucina Italiana

The King Street area isn’t short of popular Italian restaurants, but none strike quite the same note as Capri’s, where you’ll be greeted like family and served some of the most authentic Neapolitan food in Manchester.

The Feel Good Club exterior
Event venue
Feel Good Club

Our flagship Feel Good Club in Manchester, open 7 days a week, providing a beautiful friendly environment for coffee, brunch, lunch, cocktails and beers with an amazing selection of non alcoholic beverages too.

Bar or Pub
Finders Keepers

Welcoming waterside bar in New Islington Marina, serving a wide array of carefully-curated cocktails.

City Centre

Highly-regarded wine-led, French-leaning wine bar and rooftop restaurant in the city centre.

Image licensed with iStock.
Stockport Central Library

Stockport Central Library is a Carnegie library, built 1913–15 in the Edwardian Baroque style. It continues to serve as Stockport’s largest library.

The Edge exterior
Event venue
The Edge, Wigan

Opened in September 2017, The Edge Arena is Wigan’s performance, conference and event venue.


Hummingbird is one of Liverpool’s most stylish and timeless cocktail bars.

City Centre

Elegant cocktail bar in the centre of Manchester, with a relaxed atmosphere and wonderfully friendly staff.

What's on: Literature

Ian Humphreys
LiteratureWest Yorkshire
Poetry at the Dusty Miller

Poetry at the Dusty Miller is a brand-new night with invited readers, organised by Carcanet-published Carola Luther and Judith Willson in the Coiners’ Room in the Mytholmroyd pub.

free entry
Writer Gaynor Jones
Weird Women at Levenshulme Old Library

To mark International Women’s Day, Levenshulme Old Library has pulled together a programme of activities called Weird Women, which includes Unheim-Lit, a showcase of strange and uncanny spoken word.

free entry

Culture Guides

Music in Manchester and the North

Fresh concert seasons, forward-thinking festivals and a revolving door of amazing gigs. Things are looking bright as spring comes into view.

Exhibitions in Manchester and the North

February is a month of love so art lovers in the North - rejoice! There is lots to choose from: two photography festivals, gorgeous crafts and shows celebrating local talent.