Club Book Episode 78 Abdi Nor Iftin
Somali expat and debut author Abdi Nor Iftin is the pen behind one of the most anticipated – and most timely – nonfiction releases of 2018. Iftin’s long and harrowing journey to America, as part of the U.S. Government’s embattled Diversity Visa Program, came to the attention of audiences around the world through a viral BBC Radio mini-series. Iftin’s larger-than-life immigration story begins in war-torn Mogadishu, where he risked his life chronicling the rise of Islamic extremism in Somalia as an underground NPR correspondent. He narrowly escaped to a refugee camp in Kenya, where against long odds he received an invitation from the U.S. Embassy to interview for a visa in 2014. Chart-topping radio show and podcast This American Life packaged Iftin’s nightly interviews with BBC journalist Leo Hornak into a popular episode in 2015 (“Abdi and the Golden Ticket”). He is now living in Portland, Maine, where he works as an English interpreter for other Somali immigrants and recently collected his stories into a book. Call Me American debuted in June.