Author Talk with Abdi Nor Iftin

October 10, 2019 – 6:30 pm

Abdi Nor Iftin, author of "Call Me American," a memoir about growing up in war torn Somalia. Iftin smiles with his book.
Abdi Nor Iftin, author of the acclaimed memoir Call Me American, will be sharing the story of his journey from Mogadishu to Maine as part of SPPL’s Author Talk series. His visit will be at SPPL’s Main Library on Thursday, October 10 at 6:30 p.m. Iftin, who was born in Somalia, was five years old when the civil war broke out. Amidst the daily shelling and famine his family endured, Iftin found a sense of escape in American movies and music. At neighborhood showings of Rambo, Commando, and The Terminator, Iftin learned of America, taught himself English, and began to dream of a life in the United States. In Call Me American, Iftin recounts his harrowing, extraordinary, and uplifting story. His love of western culture and music earned him the name “Abdi American.” This became a liability when Islamic extremism took hold of Somalia. Evading conscription by al-Shabaab while secretly filing stories for NPR under penalty of death, he stayed in Somalia until he had no choice but to flee. He smuggled himself into Kenya, where a different but grinding life of hopelessness awaited. He spent days hiding silently in an apartment from raids by Kenyan police. And then, a stroke of incredible luck: he won the Diversity Visa Lottery. Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid portrait of the desperation refugees seek to escape, and a reminder of why western democracies still beckon to those looking to make a better life. For more information about Iftin, and for reviews of his book, visit his website. For more information about this Author Talk, call Circulation at 767-7660 x 2, or stop by the Main Library. Author Talks are made possible through the generous support of the Friends of the South Portland Public Library.