Dr. Ubah Ali Farah

Novelist, poet, lecturer @ Roma Tre University

Ubah Cristina Ali Farah was born in Verona, Italy, of a Somali father and an Italian mother. She grew up in Mogadishu but fled at the outbreak of the civil war at the age of eighteen. She lived in Rome where she taught Somali language and culture at Roma Tre University.

She’s completed a Ph.D. in African Studies at the University of Naples- L’Orientale. The dissertation deals with Somali popular culture, especially Somali plays in the period 1955-1990 and is to be defended in Spring 2016.

She is also a poet, novelist, playwright, and oral performer. She has published stories and poems in several anthologies and in 2006 she won the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize.

Her two novels, Madre piccola (Little Mother) and Il Comandante del fiume (The Commander of the River) are set in Italy and deal with two generations of Somali refugees. Madre piccola (2007) is about first-generation refugees who are still dealing with the fall-out of the civil war in their own lives and in their relationships with other Somali refugees and immigrants. Il Comandante del fiume (2014) deals with the challenges facing the children of this first generation of immigrants, including the struggle to come to terms with their identity as Somali-Italian youth, racism in their environment, and the ways in which the war’s legacy and trauma live on in the Somali grown-ups around them.