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Duration 00:28:13

Finding my father in Mesopotamia

Jenny Lewis’s father fought as a young man in the First World War campaign in Mesopotamia – modern day Iraq, Iran and Syria. He joined the South Wales Borderers in 1915 and served in Mesopotamia until 1917 when he was wounded at Kut al Amara. He died in 1944 when Jenny was a baby. Through a presentation of original photographs, poetry and witness statements from her latest collection, Taking Mesopotamia (which was heavily based on research at The National Archives) Jenny links the 2003-2011 Iraq war to its roots in the First World War campaign, traces her own roots to the father she never knew and shows how to turn historical and family research into poetry.

Jenny Lewis is a poet, playwright and children’s author. She has published three collections of poetry and two pamphlets in English and Arabic with the Iraqi poet, Adnan al Sayegh. Her plays and poetry cycles have been performed at theatres across the UK. She teaches poetry at Oxford University. Find out more at

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