Nuruddin Farah (Somalia, 1945) is regarded by many as the most important African candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature. Although he left Somalia in 1970, his native country occupies center stage in all his books. Except for the lengthy dictatorship and bloody civil war which destroyed the country, he writes about women's rights, the relationship between Islam and pre-Islamic traditions. The core of his oeuvre is formed by his novel trilogies: 'Variations on the theme of an African Dictatorship', consisting of Sweet and Sour Milk (1979), Sardines (1981) and Close Sesame (1982); and 'Blood in the Sun', formed by Maps (86), Gifts (1990) and Secrets (1998). Right now he is working on the final part of his third trilogy, already consisting of Links (2007) and Knots (2008). In his recent work exiles return to a warstricken Mogadishu. Farah also wrote a non-fiction book with testimonies of Somali refugees: Yesterday, Tomorrow: Voices from the Somali Diaspora (2000). In 1998 he was recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated in seventeen languages and seven of his books have appeared in Dutch, among others Secrets and Maps. The translation of Links will appear in 2009. Farah lives in Cape Town, South Africa.(WIN 2009)
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'Nuruddin Farah poses questions which, once asked, don't give you a moment's rest, the American weekly Newsweek wrote about the Somali author. Nuruddin Farah (1945) delivered the annual Winternachten lecture, which was organised for the third time. He spoke about migration and exile, a topic which as a writer has occupied him for a long time. You can download the lecture as a pdf-file here.
Farah describes how the situation of young migrants round 1970 – who wanted nothing but assimilate fully – differs painfully of that of young migrants today. In his lecture he asks an urgent question about identity: what makes us into who we are? Is it the country we come from, the language we speak, the culture we were raised in or the passport we carry? Or is it a coincidental process that makes us into who we are? Farah painstakingly queries what the Somali identity means to someone like himself, who has lived in half a dozen countries.
Nuruddin Farah is seen by many as the most important African candidate for the Nobel prize for Literature. In 1998 he was recipient of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. His work has been translated into seventeen languages. Seven of his books appeared in Dutch, among them Secrets and Maps. The translation of Links will be published in 2009. Farah lives in Cape Town.
Kristien Hemmerechts (Brussels, 1955) gave an introduction on Farahs work and talked to him after his lecture. Hemmerechts is a novelist, travel writer, essayist and script writer. Her novels include Ann, and Taal zonder mij (Language without me). As a writer she actively participates in the public debate in Flanders and the Netherlands.
Previous Winternachten lecturers include Elif Shafak (2008) and Pankaj Mishra (2007).
Visitors of the Winternachten lecture received the publication in English and Dutch.
You can order the publication for € 5,- + postal charges by sending an email with your name and full adress, to email@example.com. We will send it to you with an invoice of € 5,- plus shipping costs.
Stichting DOEN supported the Winternachten lecture 2009 as international writers here get a chance to share their views with their counterparts at the festival and with a varied audience. So new insights arise, contributing to the social debate in the Netherlands. DOEN supports the Winternachten lecture 2009 with a grant from the Nationale Postcode Loterij.
Part two of the triptych 'The Real Thing', hosted by Michaël Zeeman, was supposed to deal with religion. During the programme however, a discussion on identity became the topic between Nuruddin Farah and Ilija Trojanow.
Watch the interviews with Ilja Trojanow and Nuruddin Farah and the recording of this program by the Dutch Muslim Broadcast.