I was recently interviewed by Michael Robinson, a professor of history at the University of Hartford for his podcast, Time to Eat the Dogs. The podcast is titled after my essay for LitHub on travel writing by African writers. I discuss A Stranger’s Pose, inter alia.
My essay, “To the Follower of Chiekh Amadou Bamba I Met in Dakar,” first published in Off Assignment, has been selected by guest-editor Robert Macfarlane and series editor Jason Wilson to feature in Best American Travel Writing 2020.
I’m beyond pleased to share the news that the Italian edition of A Stranger’s Pose, translated by the incomparable Gioia Guerzoni as Lo sguardo di uno sconosciuto, will be published by Milan-based Francesco Brioschi Editore on May 28. The book will inaugurate a series of books on Africa by the Italian publisher.
NYRB Classics has reissued Cyprian Ekwensi’s People of the City. I’ve written an introduction to it, and an excerpt has been published in the New York Review of Books Daily.
I’ll be in conversation with Edwin Frank, editorial director of NYRB Classic Series, in an online event hosted by Community Bookstore. June 9, 6:00pm EST.
If you can, please get the book from Bookshop.
I wrote a short essay in response to a question posed by the editors of Words Without Borders: “Can international literature make us better travelers?” I was drawn to the work of Pita Nwana, whose novel Omenuko is considered the first novel written in the Igbo language, as well as an lecture by Chinua Achebe, where he denounces the work of T. J. Dennis, a missionary stationed at Onitsha.
“Sometime this year I will embark on a journey through nearly dozen towns of southeastern Nigeria, to research a book I am writing. The ethnic composition of those towns, and the language spoken, is predominantly Igbo. I will arrive with a sense of alienation from Igbo, a determination to immerse myself in the language, and a mastery of English. The matter for me, as I suppose it was for Dennis, is the terms of such an Igbo-English exchange. On my trip I hope to treat Igbo with the same attention I have paid English all my life—to consider, for instance, the subtle shifts in meaning in a word as it is used in a range of Igbo dialects.”
I send my gratitude to the editors, artists, curators, and friends who commissioned me to write essays this year, most of which appeared in print. A selected list, with links:
— “Beyond the Sea,” an essay on the philosophies of Édouard Glissant and Lydia Cabrera, in the May issue of Art in America.
— “Letters to Lina (II),” a second iteration of my correspondence with Lina Iris Viktor, published in a book accompanying her exhibition in Autograph UK, Some are Born to Endless Night.
— “Being With,” an essay on the companionship of Wura Natasha-Ogunji and ruby onyinyechi amanze, in a catalogue accompanying their exhibition, you are so loved and lovely, at Fridman Gallery, New York.
— Two essays, “Aftermath,” and “Archive,” in The Journey edited by Sean O’Toole and Simon Njami.
— “Measures of Power,” in Chimurenga’s book on FESTAC ’77.
— “Elsewheres,” an essay on artists and artistic practice in Lagos, in Practice Space, edited by Jo-Lene Ong and Rachael Rakes. Co-published by [NAME] Publications (USA) and DeAppel (NL).
— “Foreigners in a Foreign Land,” an introduction to the collaborative work of Arguiñe Escandón & Yann Gross in Peru, for the Earth issue of Aperture.
— “Notes on Happiness,” a short story in the Winter 2019/2020 issue of Hotel Magazine.
Thank you to William S. Smith, Lina Iris Viktor, Renée Mussai, Wura Natasha-Ogunji, ruby onyinyechi amanze, Sean O’Toole, Brendan Embser, Jo-Lene Ong.
Onwards to 2020!