Monday, April 1, 2013

African authors

Olivia Rutazibwa hosted a lunchtime event called "Writing to Africa"Schrijven aan Afrika" with four African authors . Lunchtime? Yes the conversations were held in the Ethiopian restaurant Toukoul under Olivia's gentle, artful questioning. These authors learned Dutch and do write in Dutch. Alphonse Muambi from Congo, with his book Democracy goes hungry is a regular contributor to 'Trouw' a Dutch newspaper. Babah Tarawally (Sierra Leone) published in Dutch in 2010 The blue-eyed God and seriously considers returning to  his country. Also Sayadin Hersi (Somalië) lives in and publishes his work in The Netherlands. Jean Bofane from Congo lives and writes in Belgium. Mathématiques Congolaises is his first novel. Sayadin Hersi (and it was obvious the other interviewees knew what he was talking about) remarked that readers always ask him whether his novel 'Verloren vader', Lost father is autobiographical. Smiling he said I am a writer, I do tell stories. I write them differently for a European readership than for African readers. They each expect a different way of storytelling. Living in Holland and Belgium these authors however do still love Africa, they follow what happens there; often they are critical of their own country and government.
The food was yummy. Sadly the sound wasn't too good, so I can't tell you more about the other authors.

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