Bard News & Events

Press Release


Emily M. Darrow
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—A panel discussion titled “African Literary Arts and Alternative Modernities,” with three internationally acclaimed African writers—Gabeba Baderoon, Helon Habila, and Binyavanga Wainaina—will be held at Bard College on Thursday, February 2. Free and open to the public, the program will begin at 7:00 p.m. in the multipurpose room of the Bertelsmann Campus Center. Ato Quayson will moderate the discussion. Baderoon (South Africa), Habila (Nigeria), and Wainaina (Kenya) will read from their works and discuss what and why they write. As Africa has changed radically since most African countries achieved independence in the 1960s, has its literature also changed? What are the effects of globalization, mass culture, and other postmodern developments on the new African writers? These are some of the questions the writers will try to answer. This panel is presented by the Chinua Achebe Fellowship in Global African Studies at Bard College—funded by the Ford Foundation—named in honor of Achebe, internationally acclaimed author and Charles P. Stevenson Jr. Professor of Languages and Literature at Bard. The fellowship seeks to invoke and revitalize the artistic spirit of the generation of African artists and intellectuals who came of age in the 1950s and ’60s. This ethos of critical and expressive political engagement is based upon the dynamics of race, politics, and culture in Africa and around the globe. The Achebe Fellowship (awarded in 2005–06 to Habila) is aimed at expanding the possibilities of the arts for creating new transnational political and ethical dialogues. For further information about the panel, call 845-758-7295 or e-mail # About the Panelists South African poet Gabeba Baderoon, a visiting scholar at Penn State University, has published two collections of poetry, The Dream in the Next Body (2005) and The Museum of Ordinary Life (2005). Her third collection, A Hundred Silences, will be published in April 2006. Baderoon is the winner of the DaimlerChrysler Award for South African Poetry 2005. Helon Habila visits Bard College this year as the first Chinua Achebe Fellow. Originally from Nigeria, he studied literature at the University of Jos and lectured at the Federal Polytechnic in Bauchi. Habila is currently completing a doctorate at the University of East Anglia, U.K. In 2002 he published his first novel, Waiting for an Angel, which was awarded a Commonwealth Writers Prize. He has worked as journalist and editor in Lagos and is currently a contributing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. Binyavanga Wainaina is the founding editor of Kwani?, one of Africa’s leading literary magazines ( In 2002 he won the Caine Prize for African Writing. He has received a special commendation from the Kenya Publisher’s Association for his work as a writer and publisher. His work has been published in National Geographic, Granta, and Chimurenga. Wainaina’s first book, Discovering Home, will be published in 2006 by Jovian Books. Ato Quayson is the director of the Centre for Diaspora and Transnationalism Studies at the University of Toronto. His writings on postcolonial theory and African literature include Postcolonialism: Theory, Practice, or Process? (2000) and Calibrations: Reading for the Social (2004). He was coeditor of Relocating Postcolonialism, published in 2002, and has served as coeditor of the journal Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies. # # # (1/25/06)

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This event was last updated on 02-03-2006