A poem of genocide
By Mark Huband
With illustrations by Anna Steinberg
As an eyewitness account, as reportage, as poetry, Agony: A Poem of Genocide is a unique and deeply affecting journey through the experience of humanity at its most evil. A witness to the Rwandan genocide, Mark Huband challenges the human race to confront this most horrifying of truths, in a poem unprecedented in its range, power and the potency of its language. Haunted by the reality of evil, Agony is a poem which exposes the violence which has been repeated throughout human history, and aims through its raw honesty and brutal power to force us as peoples to confront this evil in the hope that to do so will prevent it from again being unleashed. Drawing upon the works of writers, philosophers, killers and survivors, Agony: A Poem of Genocide also stands as powerful testimony to humanity’s ability to look hard into itself – and to perhaps even learn from the experience of doing so.The poem is illustrated by artist, Anna Steinberg.
Born on the Yorkshire moors, Mark Huband grew up in Harlow, Essex. As a journalist and author he spent twenty-five years travelling the world. Postings as a newspaper correspondent in Abidjan and Nairobi took him to most countries of sub-Saharan Africa as they emerged from the Cold War. Initially for the Financial Times and then as Africa correspondent for the Guardian and the Observer, he covered the civil war in Liberia, the famine in Somalia, genocide in Rwanda and Burundi, and the conflicts in Angola and Sudan. Moving to Morocco, his focus was the emergence of political Islam across North Africa and the Middle East. Rebasing to Cairo as regional correspondent for the Financial Times, he became immersed in the turmoil stretching from Afghanistan to Algeria. Moving to London, in the wake of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks he was appointed to oversee the FT’s coverage of Al-Qaida – a role which took him from the slums of Manila to the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
The author of eight books on Africa, the Middle East and global affairs, Mark Huband’s debut collection of poetry, American Road, was published by Live Canon in 2014. A book-length poem – The Siege of Monrovia (Live Canon, 2017) – has been followed by three pamphlets: Skinny White Kids (2017), Exile (2018) and The Candidate (2020), an account of his experience as a parliamentary election candidate.
Anna studied at the Kent Institute of Art & Design and specialized in illustration at Bath College of Higher Education. She is now a freelance illustrator and lecturer with a particular enthusiasm for alerting students to good professional practice.
Her work has been selected for the Association of Illustrator’s Best of British Illustration, and Poster Prize for Illustration exhibitions. Her artwork ‘The Cokeney’ won the Poster Prize silver award in 2019.
She also has an interest in encouraging people in the therapeutic benefits of creativity and runs art sessions at a central London charity supporting people affected by homelessness.
Anna is a member of the editorial board and contributor to Varoom, the Association of Illustrators magazine.