Today in the ArtZany Radio studio Paula Granquist welcomes author Ahmed Ismail Yusuf to discuss his new short story collection the Lion’s Binding Oath.
Ahmed Ismail Yusuf arrived in America from Somalia as a high-school dropout, unable to speak English, and unsure of his actual age. It wasn’t an easy journey, but one thing that helped along the way was his love of books. Using a Somali-to-English dictionary, Yusuf read Maya Angelou’s autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in two weeks. “A book can change your life,” Yusuf recently told Twin Cities media outlet MinnPost.
Books changed the course of his life. It was the love of that book that inspired Yusuf to embark on his own writing journey. Along the way, he earned two college degrees, wrote a play and a non-fiction book, and most recently, has written the short story collection The Lion’s Binding Oath (Catalyst Press). The collection sends readers to Yusuf’s beloved country of Somalia, immersing us in the sights and sounds of a country on the brink of war. Yusuf’s work documents a country tearing apart yet reveals its deep pride and a quiet hope despite the instability. Yusuf, who has resided in Minneapolis for over two decades, hopes that his work shines a light on both the immigrant journey as well as the Somali people and the legacy of his homeland.