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Friday October 18, 2019

Join us on Friday, October 18th at 7:00 for a presentation by Mohamed Asem, author of Stranger in the Pen. The presentation will be followed by an author reception.
July, 2016: Three days after the terror attack on Bastille Day, Mohamed Asem is detained overnight by British immigration officials without cause. In an elegantly digressive, self-interrogative style, Asem describes the boredom and uncertainty of confinement, and how this specific kind of helplessness leads, inevitably, to a self-reckoning. What series of events has led to this moment? As a teenager, he was stranded in Paris with his mother during the first Gulf War, while his father remained in Kuwait. He spent his twenties dutifully trying to follow the blueprint for manhood back home in the Middle East, only to cast it all aside after his mother's early death. Stranger in the Pen examines the burden of being disconnected from one's homeland, unpacks the emotional toll of racial profiling, and illuminates the quietly surprising ways in which grief can change one's life.


Mohamed Asem’s work has appeared in Eunoia Review, the anthology What Lies Beneath, and elsewhere. He has an MFA in creative writing from Kingston University London. Born in California, raised in Kuwait and Paris, he currently lives in Portland, Oregon.

Praise for Mohamed Asem and Stranger in the Pen:

"…a pensive reflection on identity and belonging." —The Oregonian

“Mohamed Asem's memoir Stranger in the Pen is much more than the story of his airport detention, this important book is a treatise on identity and culture.” —Largehearted Boy

"Strikingly gorgeous ... an important and interesting read." —The Portland Mercury, Aug 29, 2018, Fall Arts Guide

"If only there were more books like this—then maybe our politics wouldn't be as thoughtless." —Pauls Toutonghi, author of Evel Kneivel Days

© Jason Quigley