Mother Tongue

Mother Tongue

My mother said
I asked my mother once
Why don’t they like us
My mother said
Someone who wants to be liked by everybody
Will die before that happens

Mona Monasar was born in 1998 by Somali parents. She grew up in Tensta, an immigrant-dense suburb to Stockholm. She writes poetry and prose, has won a literary prize for her writing, and participated in spoken word contests where she made it to the finals. Her texts thematically focus on growing up a black Muslim girl in Sweden today, and the prejudice she encounters: “People always think I’m kept on a short leash.”

Her texts also revolve around mental illness, the African diaspora, identity and not fully belonging anywhere. “Standing on stage and delivering one’s writing is definitely a way to take up space and being a voice of a girl from the suburbs,” Mona says.

The book is illustrated in black and white by Tove Jertfelt.

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