Minnesota Humanities Center and Somali community partner to produce Somali youth anthology

The Minnesota Humanities Center, in collaboration with Somali author and educator Marian Hassan, is seeking submissions for a first-of-its-kind Minnesota Somali Youth Anthology.

The anthology will be edited by Marian Hassan and will include the authentic, first-hand stories of Minnesota’s Somali youth, ages 10 through 30, around ideas like: what it means to be American, coping with loss and displacement, negotiating the charged identities of being a Muslim and a third-culture person and much more.

“As a documentation of experiences for Somali youth, my hopes for the anthology are that it will start intergenerational dialogue to facilitate teaching and learning across the generations,” says Hassan. “I hope the anthology will also be a learning and teaching tool for the larger community about the Somali people and their resilience as people from a culture of enduring faith in the face of all challenges.” 

The Humanities Center believes that the anthology will serve as a necessary act of self-representation for Somali youth in a challenging time when their multiple identities are often vilified. Through stories and storytelling, these youth will take inspiration and realize the power of their voices by sharing their experiences in a variety of creative formats, collected together as a tapestry of experience.

“In 2004, the Humanities Center and leaders from Minnesota’s Somali communities came together to develop a bilingual children’s book series that took well-known Somali folk tales and published them side-by-side in English and Somali for the first time, promoting intergenerational relationships and literacy. Now, this successful partnership looks to focus on the voices of Somali youth in a similar way,” says Humanities Center President and CEO, David O’Fallon. “The Somali Youth Anthology will use the power of the humanities to lift the voices of our often unheard young Somali-Minnesotan friends and neighbors.”

The Somali Youth Anthology submission process will include several phases: 1.) Submissions—in Somali or English—will be accepted until March 30, 2018 in a variety of formats—written, audio, visual, etc. 

2.) Over the course of several months after first-round submissions, selected youth will work with experienced community storytellers and writers to edit and develop their pieces. 

3.) In spring 2018, selected youth will have a final, workshopped draft to submit to the editorial panel for final review and assessment.

The Minnesota Humanities Center’s Somali Youth Anthology will be published at a date yet to be determined. More information and full submission guidelines are available online at mnhum.org/stories-and-culture/somali-youth-anthology/submissions.

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