Thursday, October 30, 2014

USA Africa Dialogue Series - The Stefan Löfven government officially recognised State of Palestine yesterday….

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

USA Africa Dialogue Series - Nuruddin Farah: Hiding in Plain Sight: A Novel


From an acclaimed African writer, a novel about family, freedom, and loyalty.
When Bella learns of the murder of her beloved half brother by political extremists in Mogadiscio, she's in Rome. The two had different fathers but shared a Somali mother, from whom Bella's inherited her freewheeling ways. An internationally known fashion photographer, dazzling but aloof, she comes and goes as she pleases, juggling three lovers. But with her teenage niece and nephew effectively orphaned – their mother abandoned them years ago—she feels an unfamiliar surge of protective feeling. Putting her life on hold, she journeys to Nairobi, where the two are in boarding school, uncertain whether she can—or must—come to their rescue. When their mother resurfaces, reasserting her maternal rights and bringing with her a gale of chaos and confusion that mirror the deepening political instability in the region, Bella has to decide how far she will go to obey the call of sisterly responsibility.
A new departure in theme and setting for "the most important African novelist to emerge in the past twenty-five years" (The New York Review of Books) Hiding in Plain Sight, is a profound exploration of the tensions between freedom and obligation, the ways gender and sexual preference define us, and the unexpected paths by which the political disrupts the personal.

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Hiding in Plain Sight:

"Gracefully pulling together social issues with the seismography of a single family and underscoring it all with hints at the Somali diaspora of the 1990s, Farah once again offers a complex look at the struggle and joy of finding home" —Shelf Awareness

"With delicacy and compassion, Farah…fashions a domestic chamber piece where motives, yearnings and regrets intersect among these complex, volatile personalities against a wider backdrop of religious and cultural conflict, social and political upheaval, and even "family values" in post-millennial Africa …. An unassuming triumph of straightforward, topical storytelling that both adds to and augments a body of work worthy of a Nobel Prize." —Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Praise for Crossbones
"Politically courageous and often gripping." —The New York Times Book Review

"Often reads like a taut, tense thriller . . . a thought-provoking read as well as an absorbing look into a culture and a people in extreme circumstances." —The Philadelphia Inquirer

About the Author

Nuruddin Farah is the author of eleven previous novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages and have won numerous awards. Born in Baidoa, Somalia, he lives in Cape Town, South Africa, and Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, where he is Distinguished Professor of Literature at Bard College.

Funmi Tofowomo Okelola

-In the absence of greatness, mediocrity thrives.

USA Africa Dialogue Series - UT Austin Symposium for African Writers 2014: Taiye Selasi, Sofia Samatar, Maaza Mengiste, Laila Lalami, & Nnedi Okorafor:

UT Austin Symposium for African Writers 2014: Taiye Selasi, Sofia Samatar, Maaza Mengiste, Laila Lalami, & Nnedi Okorafor:

In the last few years, some of the most powerful, popular, and innovative African writing has come from writers living in the United States. Yet to describe writers like Taiye Selasi, Maaza Mengiste, Sofia Samatar, Nnedi Okorafor, or Laila Lalami as either "American" or "African" writers would be to miss what is most vital about their work, which is both and neither, and gloriously so. Even terms like "exile," "immigrant," or "diaspora" don't capture the reality of writers whose literary horizons are not bound by their birthplace, passport, or skin color. And perhaps they do not wish to be captured!

Each of these writers defies categorization and creates new categories. Taiye Selasi's Ghana Must Go (2013) challenges us to think about family and love across and between nation-states, continental imaginaries, and narratives of diaspora; Sofia Samatar's A Stranger in Olandria (2013) uses epic fantasy to engage African and African diasporic issues like imperialism, exile, and the fraught relationship between oral and written ways of knowing; Maaza Mengiste's Beneath the Lion's Gaze (2010) beings to life the bloody nightmares and intimate tragedies of the "Red Terror" in 1970's Ethiopia; and in The Moor's Account (2014) Laila Lalami reminds us that African migration didn't begin in the 20th century, telling the story of the New World's first explorer of African descent, an enslaved Moroccan named Estevanico. Finally, over the last decade, Nnedi Okorafor has ranged prolifically across science fiction, fantasy, and young adult fiction, weaving her Nigerian heritage into Afro-futurism.

In December, the University of Texas will welcome these writers to Austin to read and discuss each other's work. If, as Selasi polemically argued in November 2013, "Africa Literature Doesn't Exist," we will ask what kind of literature they have written. And if categories are unhelpful, we will try conversations.


Dec 2nd: UNB 3.502 Santa Rita Suite 
Opening introduction by Bernth Lindfors
7-9 pm Taiye Selasi

Dec 3rd: CLA 1.302E 
Opening introduction by Toyin Falola.
1:00-2:30 Laila Lalami, Maaza Mengiste
3:00-4:30 Nnedi Okorafor, Sofia Samatar
5:00-6:30 Lalami, Mengiste, Okorafor, Samatar, Selasi

Conveners: Aaron Bady, Barbara Harlow, Neville Hoad

Funmi Tofowomo Okelola

-In the absence of greatness, mediocrity thrives.

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