Writing and Exile event to mark publication of new book (23 March)

Gary Hughes

On 23 March, the University’s Migration and Movement Signature Research Theme (SRT) will host a panel discussion and readings to mark the publication of a book (Exilio y Memoria) produced by exiled Colombians as part of their contribution to the work of the Colombian Truth Commission.

The event, titled Writing and Exile, will take place in Keynes College Lecture Theatre 5 on the Canterbury campus between 3 and 5pm. It will also be held online, with further information and registration details available here.

The event will be hosted by Professor David Herd from the University’s School of English and the Migration and Movement SRT. He will be joined for a discussion on writing and exile by Peter Drury, the UK’s representative of the Colombian Truth Commission and a Kent Law School PhD candidate; Sandra Dixon, an author and co-editor of Exilio y Memoria; Basma El Doukhi, PhD Researcher with Kent’s Global Challenges Doctoral Centre; and Cristina Hernández, a PhD student from the Universidad de los Andes who is currently part of the Erasmus Exchange program at Kent.

There will also be translated readings from Exilio y Memoria, which contains poems and prose texts reflecting on the violence which led people to leave Colombia, the experience of seeking exile and the efforts to rebuild their lives.

Peter Drury said: ‘This is one of many exercises carried out during the process of the Colombian Truth Commission in Colombia and internationally by victims and survivors of human rights violations and serious breaches of International Humanitarian Law as a means to be able to reveal hidden truths about their experiences. These truths have often been concealed for many years by trauma, anger and fear. The writing exercise has provided an opportunity to reflect on their experiences and express sometimes hidden truths. For Colombians in exile this work has been crucial in shedding light on the hidden truth of exile.’

The Colombian Truth Commission is part of the Transitional Justice System created following the peace accord between the FARC guerrilla movement and the Colombian Government in 2016. As part of the process of recognition, the Truth Commission has organized events and activities to ensure that the voices of victims and survivors can be heard and to ensure recognition of their truths. Exilio y Memoria is part of this process.

This event is the second in a new series of research and public engagement events organised and hosted by the Migration and Movement SRT. Each has been designed to develop dialogues with key external agencies in the field, to showcase outstanding work across the theme, and to stimulate new intersectional and interdisciplinary conversations. All events are open to the public.