Call Me American, Abdi Nor Iftin’s story of his quest to emigrate from war-torn Somalia to the U.S., caused a stir when it was published in June. Iftin will kick off this year’s Word literary arts festival in conversation with Brook Ewing Minner, host of the Book Worm show on WERU-FM.
Growing up in Somalia, Abdi Nor Iftin was known as “Abdi American.” He fell in love with the U.S. from afar, teaching himself English by watching movies and listening to Michael Jackson. Having won entrance to the U.S. in an annual lottery, he risked his life to reach his new home in Portland, where he is currently studying political science at the University of Southern Maine and is on the path to full citizenship.
A natural storyteller, Iftin shared dispatches from his journey from Somalia to Kenya to Portland on the BBC World Service and “This American Life.” His memoir, published in June of 2017 by Penguin-Random House, received world-wide press coverage and glowing reviews.
In addition to her show on WERU, Brook Ewing Minner is director of the Brooksville Free Public Library. She also is a community organizer and leads Main Street Bucksport, an economic redevelopment organization. She lives in Bucksport with her husband and daughter.