Writing across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk

Writing across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk

Writing across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk

Writing across Worlds: Contemporary Writers Talk

Synopsis

Writing has always been a means of making crossings and forging connections between different worlds. Some writers have found it hard to reach an international audience, however: for decades the western literary establishment has been all too ready to sideline writers with mixed cultural or migrant backgrounds as 'marginal', 'multicultural' or simply 'other'. Since its foundation in 1984 the literary magazine Wasafiri has focused on the idea of the writer as someone who transports the imagination beyond the maps of narrowly defined borders, and has promoted a range of new and established voices as well as signposting new waves in contemporary literature worldwide. To celebrate Wasafiri's twentieth anniversary, Writing Across Worlds brings together a selection of interviews with major international writers previously featured in the pages of the magazine. Conducted by a wide constituency of distinguished critics, writers and journalists, the interviews offer a unique insight into the views and work of a remarkable array of acclaimed authors. They also chart a slow but certain cultural shift: those once seen as 'other' have not only won many of the establishment's most revered literary prizes but have also become central figures in contemporary literature, writing across and into all our real and imagined worlds. With an introductory comment by Susheila Nasta, editor of Wasafiri, this collection is essential reading for all those interested in contemporary literature. Authors interviewed include: Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Monica Ali, Amit Chaudhuri, David Dabydeen, Bernadine Evaristo, Maggie Gee, Lorna Goodison, Nadine Gordimer, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Wilson Harris, Keri Hulme, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jackie Kay, Jamaica Kincaid, Maxine Hong Kingston, George Lamming, Rohinton Mistry, V.S. Naipaul, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Michael Ondaatje, Caryl Phillips, Joan Riley, Salman Rushdie, Nayantara Sahgal, Sam Selvon, Vikram Seth, Zadie Smith, Wole Soyinka, Moyez Vassanji, Marina Warner.

Excerpt

Is only those who take chance with land and water, who go far from home and roam world views, who stretch distance with foot, who for ever making home out of homelessness and drift, no matter what, that can see what Anancy seeing, here, right now.

(Andrew Salkey, from Anancy Traveller)

When we speak of the best contemporary writing in English today, we must inevitably refer to a diverse body of literature deriving from all over the globe and written in different forms of the English tongue. As with Anancy, the familiar trickster figure who frequently leaps across the Middle Passage, the language has shifted its shapes whilst simultaneously becoming a mouth for many worlds. This is not to suggest that we now exist contentedly in some form of a literary McDonald's, a global village where despite the fact that cultures jangle, everyone tastes the same food and enjoys the same palatably bland, if 'exotic', menu. Any serious discussion of the internationalization of English as a literary language in the past century would need to show that whilst a long history of empire successfully took that language elsewhere, ownership of it has long ceased to reside in the 'sceptred isle'. and although it cannot be disputed that much writing in English today derives from

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.