The Return Flight: writing migrancy: Conference at the University of Frankfort (Germany)
Prof Abdulrazak Gurnah
University of Kent
Title: The Return Flight: writing migrancy
Monday, 18 January, 6.15 pm, Casino building, Campus Westend, room 1.801
(Renate-von-Metzler-Saal). Reception at 8 pm.
There is nothing new about modern large scale migration. For the bulk of the last three centuries it has been Europe dispersing in various global directions. In the last few decades, changed circumstances have led to large scale migration from the global south to Europe and North America. These changes have occurred in both the migrant countries of origin as well as in their destination countries where the need for labour required the easing of laws which discouraged non-whites immigration. This talk will discuss the dynamics of recent migration to the United Kingdom in particular and its representation in writing. It will focus on African
fiction accounts of the migration experience (Tayeb Salih, Buchi Emecheta, Ben Okri, Dambudzo Marechera, Nadifa Mohammed) but will also address issues of African chauvinism which impel migration while ignoring its reality. In addition it will make brief comparisons with writing from other migration sources to the UK. It will finally pose a question on the myth of return: how much of a myth is it and how is it represented in this writing?
Abdulrazak Gurnah was born in Zanzibar and is now best-known as a novelist. His fourth novel Paradise was short-listed for the Booker Prize in 1994. His latest novel is The Last Gift (2011). His main academic interest is in postcolonial writing and in discourses associated with colonialism, especially as they relate to Africa, the Caribbean and India. He has edited two volumes of Essays on African Writing, has published articles on a number of contemporary postcolonial writers, including Naipaul, Rushdie and Zoe Wicomb. He is the editor of A Companion to Salman Rushdie (Cambridge University Press 2007). Abdulrazak Gurnah is Professor of English and Postcolonial Literatures at the School of English at the University of Kent.
Source if the picture: Wikipedia