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Ticket to…Afghanistan

Ticket To...Explore the World with the Alignist Book Club

Originally Aired: Tuesday, February 11, 2020


Get a taste of a faraway place right here in our intimate studio space. Using a novel as a launching pad, Ticket To explores a nation through its history, cuisine and culture.

This month, we travel to Afghanistan through the lens of Nadia Hashimi’s novel, A House Without Windows, with host Beenish Ahmed, founder of The Alignist book club and subscription service. The novel looks at women in this traditional culture through the eyes of a woman who is jailed after her husband is brutally murdered and she can offer no alibi. As she awaits trial, she learns the stories of the women who are behind bars with her and discovers a unique sisterhood with them.

We will talk to Nadia Hashimi, Afghan American poet Zohra Saed and Afghan pianist Elham Fanous.

Reading the assigned novel in advance of the event is highly recommended, but not at all required to enjoy the show. Learn more about The Alignist and how to subscribe here.

Nadia Hashimi’s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970’s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Hashimi visited Afghanistan for the first time with her family. She lives with her husband, a neurologist, and their three children in suburban Washington, D.C., where she works as a pediatrician.

Zohra Saed is a Brooklyn based Afghan American poet. She is the co-editor of One Story, Thirty Stories: An Anthology of Contemporary Afghan American Literature (University of Arkansas Press), editor of Langston Hughes: Poems, Photos, and Notebooks from Turkestan (Lost & Found, The CUNY Poetics Documents Initiative); and Woman. Hand/Pen. (Belladonna Chaplet). Her essays on the Central Asian diaspora have appeared in Eating Asian America (NYU Press) and The Asian American Literary Review. She co-founded UpSet Press, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit indie press, with poet Robert Booras.

The 22-year old Elham Fanous is the leading Afghan pianist of his generation. His life’s work is to embody a positive face of Afghanistan’s future and to provide hope to musicians and artists living under threats to their creative expression all around the world.

Elham has been profiled on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition by host Renee Montagne, in the BBC, and on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt. He recently became a recipient of Young Musical Scholars Foundation. He is the subject of a German television documentary (ZDF tivi).

Elham is currently pursuing his masters degree at Manhattan School of music under the instruction of Philip Kawin.

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