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"A Stone Thrown at the Guilty" Staged Reading

Date: 12/07/2012

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Stoll Thrust Theatre Rarig Center

Cost: Free


ALSO ON SATURDAY DEC 8. The CLA Winton Chair, the Department of English, & the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota present a special public staged reading of the Somalia-set play A Stone Thrown at the Guilty by award-winning Somali novelist  Nuruddin Farah, directed by Irina Brown. The reading will be followed by a discussion led by Farah and Brown, presenting a rare opportunity to watch a world-class theater director develop a work of drama with an esteemed international writer. Raised in Russia, Brown has directed numerous plays in the UK, including two at the London National Theatre. Farah has authored 11 novels, including his latest, Crossbones, as well as several plays.

A Stone Thrown at the Guilty is a play about colonialism and its impact on the colonized, but it also refers to current events in Somalia. It is inspired by two well-known mid-20th century uprisings in Somalia under British rule, one of which resulted in a protester’s death sentence. In Farah’s play, the Somali firing squad ordered by the British Colonial Governor to kill the man instead performs an act of resistance. However, the play then veers sharply from the usual narratives of heroic rebellion. The players exhibit conflicting impulses and desires, and the response to the resistance takes unexpected, fatal turns. Clear in the confusion is the difficulty of creating deliberate change, even if the cause seems straightforward.

Since 2010, supported by the College of Liberal Arts Winton Chair, Nuruddin Farah has taught classes at the University of Minnesota and given public readings of his 11th novel Crossbones (Riverhead/Penguin). He has also collaborated with Twin Cities actors and Theatre Arts assistant professor Dominic Taylor on two new plays, Antigone in Somalia and an earlier version of A Stone Thrown at the Guilty. The latter received its first staged reading in February 2012.

Exiled from his native Somalia in the 1970s, Farah first visited Minneapolis, and specifically the Department of English at the University of Minnesota, in 1988 as an Edelstein-Keller Visiting Writer in the Creative Writing Program. Since then he has visited the Twin Cities to read and teach almost every other year, even as he has lived and written in a series of African countries. Coincidentally, from the 1990s Minneapolis has been one of the major destinations for Somali refugees fleeing tribal war and political chaos, and Farah became involved with the burgeoning population through community meetings and high school visits. He currently resides in Capetown, South Africa. The first novel of his trilogy about dictatorship, Sweet and Sour Milk, won the English-Speaking Union Literary Prize in 1980; in 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His current “Past Imperfect” trilogy (Links, Knots, and Crossbones) features characters returning to their native Somalia and facing the chaos of its ongoing civil war.



  • Name: Terri Sutton
  • E-mail: sutt0063@umn.edu
  • Phone: 612-626-1528
  • Sponsored by: English, Theatre Arts & Dance, College of Liberal Arts, Institute for Advanced Study

Disability Options:

To request disability accommodations, please contact Terri Sutton at sutt0063@umn.edu or 612-626-1528.

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