The Anglo-Ethiopian Society

Lecture - HYBRID - Amharic Book Afternoon

Bethlehem Attfield, Alex Tefera and Angela Raven-Roberts

Sunday 25th September 2022

An Ethiopian book afternoon, with discussions about translating Amharic literature and of producing cartoons for an Ethiopian audience.

Starting 14:00 BST, Ethiopian Community in Britain, 2a Lithos Road, London NW3 6EF - Public event (all welcome).


14:00 Doors Open, Henningham Family Press and Bethlehem Attfield will be selling copies of her translation of The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku. Alex Tefera will be selling copies Funtezya, his latest book of social and political cartoons about Ethiopia. There will be a table of other Ethiopia related books for sale, with many books in Amharic that have been brought over from Addis Ababa
15:00 Talk, Translating Amharic Literature by Bethlehem Attfield (also available to view online)
16:30 Talk, A discussion of Alex Tefera's new book, Funtezya, with Angela Raven-Roberts (also available to view online)
18:00 Event Ends

15:00 Talk - Translating Amharic Literature: A Treasure Trove To Behold by Bethlehem Attfield

The question of what languages represent African literary aesthetics best, while bringing about political and cultural decolonisation has been debated among African literary professionals for decades. The consensus was to adopt European colonial languages, particularly English, to write African literature. Does this decision, and the commitments made to promote postcolonial literature affect Amharic Literature? If so, how?

Bethlehem's talk attempts to address these questions by exploring historical imperial relations as well as current soft power structures. She will also discuss the advantages of translating from Amharic literature based on her experience as a literary translator.

Bethlehem Attfield is an Amharic-English literary translator, born in Addis Ababa. She specialises in translating contemporary Ethiopian fiction. She founded the Ethiopian Translators Network and hosts the YouTube podcast Journey To Ethiopia with Story. She is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD at Birmingham University.

16:30 Talk - Funtezya by Alex Tefera with Angela Raven-Roberts

Alemayehu (Alex) Tefera was born in Addis Ababa and has been sketching since the age of 12. He obtained a degree from Addis Ababa University Art School in 1988 and then went to London to study for a Masters Degree, where he has remained ever since. Alex is well known as a social and political cartoonist among the Ethiopian community and his first book, Abeshania, published in 2011, quickly sold out. His latest book, Funtezya, contains cartoons produced up to 2020.

Alex will talk about his life as a cartoonist and how he produces his artwork. Angela Raven-Roberts will then question Alex about the production of Funtezya and they will go on to discuss some of the cartoons in the book.

Books for Sale During the Event:

The Lost Spell (ክብር ድንጋይ) by Yismake Worku, translated by Bethlehem Attfield

The Lost Spell cover

The Lost Spell by Yismake Worku, translated by Bethlehem Attfield

Publisher : Henningham Family Press, 2022
ISBN : 9781916218628 (paperback)
UK price £12.99
Didimos Dore has turned himself into a dog. Unable to remember the spell to turn him back, he must journey home to Addis Ababa; to a wife and children who suspect nothing of his dabbling in the occult.

The proud, respectable businessman tries to keep himself at the centre of his world, despite his sudden lowly status.

As he scampers fearfully through bustling towns and awe inspiring landscapes, he sees Ethiopian history and politics from a new perspective. With a mixture of self-importance and compassion, Dore sees his literal dehumanisation echoed in the state of the nation around him. Yet through a series of hapless, sometimes funny schemes, he must seek out human kindness to survive.

Yismake Worku is an innovative, bestselling Ethiopian novelist. He was acclaimed for his courageous and keen observation of the 2012 political scene, following the death of Meles Zenawi, in the Amharic original published in 2013. The Lost Spell weaves the legends of Ethiopia into a contemporary cautionary tale about the transformative power of words.

Funtezya - ፈንጠዝያ by Alex Tefera

Funtezya cover A book of full colour cartoons covering topics such as the Constitution, Corona, Abay, and Social Issues and interspersed with short musings by Alex in English and Amharic.

Funtezya was launched in Addis Ababa in June 2021 to coincide with an exhibition of cartoons from the book. The book is currently not stocked in any bookshops outside Addis Ababa and is only currently available directly from Alex in the UK.

There will also be a very varied selection of other books for sale - some new, some second-hand, but only single copies available for most of the titles.

All are welcome to join. Please reserve your place soon to avoid disappointment.

Eventbrite Tickets - Amharic Book Afternoon

Unable to attend the event in person? Parts of the event also being broadcast online. Register for the online event on Eventbrite and you'll be emailed a Zoom link shortly before the event.

Register for an online ticket to the talk on Translating Amharic Literature by Bethlehem Attfield.

Eventbrite Tickets - Translating Amharic Literature by Bethlehem Attfield

Register for an online ticket to the talk on Funtezya by Alex Tefera with Angela Raven-Roberts.

Eventbrite Tickets - Funtezya by Alex Tefera with Angela Raven-Roberts

First Published in News File Summer 2022

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