Songs from Beyond the Grave


Aqsa Ijaz


January 26, 2024

The Elahé Omidyar Mir-Djalali Institute of Iranian Studies

Majnun and Layla:
Songs from Beyond the Grave


Friday, January 26, 2024 2 pm
Room 304, 4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1C1


Songs from Beyond the Grave

Celebrating 900 Years of Retelling Nizami’s Love Poems Globally


Dive into the poetic retelling of Nizami Ganjavi’s timeless love poem, Leyli u Majnun, by the award-winning  poet and illustrator, Yann Damizen.

Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave

Translated from French by Aqsa Ijaz and Thomas Harrison.

Why do ancient tales resonate deeply even today? What makes a medieval classic relevant in our fast-paced, tech-driven world?

In Persian literary culture, retelling the narratives of the past was more than mere repetition. It was about bestowing contemporary readers with the rich legacies of the past, offering them guidance and grounding to imagine a more equitable future. These retellings bore a transformative potential, challenging the established narratives, renewing them for the present, while ensuring their continued relevance.

With Majnun and Layla: Songs from Beyond the Grave, Damizen revives this tradition, reimagining Nizami’s iconic tale of love, madness, and loss. For the first time, the story is retold from Leyli’s perspective, breaking the chains of poetic authority that silenced her for centuries.

Join Us for a Literary Reawakening

Experience one of the most beloved love poems of Persian culture in a whole new light. Witness the power of love, not as a form of submission, but as a radiant force driving a woman’s self-discovery and self-actualization in this new rendition of an old song.