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Afropolitan literature comes to Tübingen University

Four writers with African connections at the Writers’ Lectureship, 12-27 November

The University of Tübingen welcomes Taiye Selasi, Priya Basil, Chika Unigwe and Nii Ayikwei Parkes to this year’s Writers’ Lectureship. These authors represent what Taiye Selasi calls “Afropolitan Literature” – each comes from an African family or an African country, has traveled the world and has developed his or her own critical and committed style.

“Homesickness lodged like a stone inside” – Chika Unigwe describes the feeling which has become a part of her life and writing. Priya Basil talks of the difficulties of finding an identity: “The school we attended was a bastion of Britishness and Christianity, our closest friends were Muslim and most of the people around us were black.” Nii Parkes’s crime story sees a clash of cultures between a young, educated city-dweller and an old indigenous hunter. Together they must solve a crime which may not have even happened. Parkes stresses that the conflicts which arise are not restricted to postcolonial societies but come up everywhere in one form or another.

Afropolitan literature spans continents and examines the confrontations between generations and world views – while making new connections. Boston and Accra, Nairobi and London, Antwerp and Lagos all move closer together, highlighting both differences and similarities – and defying conventional categories. New meets old, myths and the everyday appear differently from what Europeans expect. A lack of cultural context means Europeans do not get all the jokes; the pace and rhythm of the narrative are unfamiliar, as are many of the locations.

The Writer’s Lectureship is organized by the Institute of English Languages and Literatures and sponsored by Würth GmbH & Co. KG. The events are open to the public.

Writers’ Lectureship events:

Wednesday, 12 November 8:15 pm in der Alten Aula (Münzgasse 22-30, 72070 Tübingen): Lecture by Taiye Selasi

Thursday, 20 November 8:15 pm in der Alten Aula (Münzgasse 22-30, 72070 Tübingen) Reading by Nii Parkes

Lectures by Priya Basil, all at 8:15 pm at the Audimax, Neue Aula (Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, 72074 Tübingen)

  • Monday, 24 November: “Your life as a novel. The perils of turning real people into fictional characters”
  • Wednesday, 26 November: “Literary Friction or Learning to Offend. On becoming a political writer”

Lectures by Chika Unigwe, all at 8:15 pm at the Audimax, Neue Aula (Geschwister-Scholl- Platz, 72074 Tübingen)

  • Tuesday, 25 November: “A Drive in the Dark: Navigating my Way to (a New) Identity”
  • Thursday, 27 November: “For Beautiful Tomorrows: The Women of Black Sisters Street”

Reading by Priya Basil and Chika Unigwe at the Adolf-Würth-Saal, Schwäbisch Hall, Friday, 28 November 7 pm.



Caroline Merkel
University of Tübingen
Faculty of Humanities
Deutsches Seminar, Poetik-Dozentur
Phone: +49-7071-29-74261
Fax: +49-7071-29-5962

Prof. Dr. Dorothee Kimmich
University of Tübingen
Faculty of Humanities
Deutsches Seminar, Poetik-Dozentur
Phone: +49 7071 29-75323

Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Public Relations Department
Dr. Karl Guido Rijkhoek
Antje Karbe
Press Officer
Phone +49 7071 29-76789
Fax +49 7071 29-5566
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