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Literary Festival 2011 - Placing Mobilities

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Speaker(s): Brian Chikwava, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Olumide Popoola
Chair: Dr Ranka Primorac

Recorded on 19 February 2011 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

This panel will consider a number of complementary and competing themes around the topic of diaspora and place. Particular places, and perhaps especially cities, consist of large diasporic populations often represented as indications of cosmopolitanism, multiculturalism and conviviality. Diasporas may be formed through forced or voluntary movements, leaving behind certain places but having often powerful relationships to them, and creating new senses of place elsewhere. Ideas of diaspora, as well as travel, movement, and exile, have become important subjects and tropes within contemporary literature. Notions of longing and belonging are perhaps most discreetly and passionately played out in the novel, that may be biographical to the life of the author as exile and/or ‘global cosmopolitan’. How we perceive London, New York or Johannesburg (as well as smaller towns) may be informed by the authorial gaze on the city by writers.

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