- A three-part series of interviews with award-winning African writers will debut at the Library of Congress beginning today to coincide with Africa Month
- The interviews are part of the “Conversations with African Poets and Writers Series” produced by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division since 2008
- The three pre-recorded interviews will be released on the Library's YouTube site and the African and Middle Eastern Division’s webpage at 7 p.m. (EST)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Damon Galgut, and Abdulrazak Gurnah form lineup of “Conversations with African Poets and Writers Series”
A three-part series of interviews with award-winning African writers will debut at the Library of Congress beginning today to coincide with Africa Month, an increasingly popular celebration of the continent’s peoples, cultures and history.
The interviews are part of the “Conversations with African Poets and Writers Series” produced by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division since 2008 to promote a greater cross-cultural understanding and dialogue. The series offers a window onto African writers, from the continent and the diaspora, and features their works in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama and literary criticism.
Lanisa Kitchiner, chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division, noted that, since antiquity, Africa’s remarkable literary legacy has shaped humanity, contributing some of the earliest writings known to man, including 4,600-year-old papyri and Egyptian funerary literature dating to 2200 BCE.
“The African and Middle Eastern Division holds an unparalleled repository of works reflecting this vast, rich intellectual heritage and its spread beyond the Sahara. The division’s running series, Conversations with African Poets and Writers, celebrates African expressive culture and narrative traditions by engaging the most critical thinkers, writers, and storytellers of our time,” said Kitchiner.
Nigerian-born Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 44, is the author of many award-winning books, including “Americanah,” “Purple Hibiscus” and “Half of a Yellow Sun,” and is set to release a journal with prompts for aspiring writers as a spinoff of her 2017 New York Times bestseller, “We Should All Be Feminists.”
South African novelist and playwright Damon Galgut, 58, won the 2021 Booker Prize for his ninth novel “The Promise,” a fictional account of a white South African family living on a farm outside Pretoria during the waning days of apartheid. Using humor to broach difficult subjects, the novel was praised by the Booker Prize judges for offering an “unambiguous commentary on the history of South Africa and of humanity itself.”
Abdulrazak Gurnah, a Tanzanian-born novelist and academic, won the 2021 Nobel Prize winner in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism." Best known for his novels "Paradise" (1994), "Desertion" (2005) and "By the Sea" (2001), Gurnah has written extensively about people in the developing world and regions affected by war, by also interweaving themes related to exile, displacement and colonialism.
The three prerecorded one-hour interviews will be released on the Library’s YouTube site and the African and Middle Eastern Division’s webpage at 7 p.m. (EST) on the following dates:
- May 5 (African World Heritage Day): Chimamanda Adichie
- May 12: Damon Galgut
- May 25 (Africa Day): Abdulrazak Gurnah
Administered by the division’s African section, the “Conversations with African Poets and Writers Series” presents interviews with current African diaspora writers and readings from their works. Since 2008, the division has hosted some 30 conversations programs in collaboration with civil society groups such as Africa Society, the Center for African Studies at Howard University and Georgetown University.
Through this series, the African and Middle Eastern Division has not only introduced the Library’s rich resources on African studies to a broad audience but also collected an impressive trove of archives of interviews with leading thinkers and writers in this subject field, deepening research on African studies and literature. This archive also aims to stimulate a broader appreciation of the African literary tradition and heritage
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