Congratulations to Ladan Osman, winner of a 2021 Whiting Award in Poetry for her Hurston/Wright Legacy Award-winning collection, Exiles of Eden (2019).In Exiles of Eden, Osman looks at the origin story of Adam, Eve, and their exile from the Garden, exploring displacement and alienation from its mythological origins to the present. In this formally experimental collection steeped in Somali narrative tradition, Osman gives voice to the experiences and traumas of displaced people over multiple generations. The characters in these poems encounter exile’s strangeness while processing the profoundly isolating experience of knowing that once you are sent out of Eden, you can’t go back.
“A generous, rooted, and humbly adamant quest for agency.” —Publishers Weekly
“A stellar collection . . . in this political moment charged with so much frustration and sorrow, Exiles of Eden offers the triumph we all need.” —World Literature Today
For more on Osman and Exiles of Eden, listen to Osman’s appearance on Danez Smith and Franny Choi’s VS Podcast, read her interview with Joe Penney for Africa is a Country, and read her interview with Alex Deuben for The Brooklyn Rail. Visit Osman’s website for more on her filmmaking, photography, writing, and other work.
About the AuthorLadan Osman is the author of Exiles of Eden (2019), winner of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (2015), winner of the Sillerman Prize. She has received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, Cave Canem, the Michener Center, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Osman's first short film (co-directed), Sam Underground, profiles Sam Diaz, a teenage busker who would become the 2020 American Idol. She was the writer for Sun of the Soil, a short documentary on the complicated legacy of Malian emperor, Mansa Musa. It was selected for inclusion in the Cannes International PanAfrican Film Festival and the New York African Film Festival. Osman’s directorial debut, The Ascendants, is streaming now on TOPIC. She lives in New York.