NYC Event: MEMORY AND LONGING--Christianse & Hartman Conversation

[This just in over the wires. I can't go--we'll be at the Opera!!!--but it sounds great. I got Yvette Christianse's novel for Christmas and am eager to read it.]

THE AFRICANA STUDIES PROGRAM AT BARNARD COLLEGE presents a conversation about HISTORY, FICTION, & BLACK DIASPORA with YVETTE CHRISTIANSE (Unconfessed) & SAIDIYA HARTMAN (Lose Your Mother)

Monday, January 22, 7pm, Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd Floor Barnard Hall


Join the Africana Studies program at Barnard College for a provocative conversation about legacy of slavery and the politics of history. The evening begins with a reading from poet Yvette Christiansë’s acclaimed debut novel Unconfessed. Called “a devastating song of freedom” by Kirkus Reviews, the novel, inspired by actual South African court records from the 1800s, tells the story of slave woman Sila van den Kapp, who was sentenced to death on April 30, 1823. The novel follows Sila from a Cape Town jail to her commuted sentence of hard labor on the now notorious Robbins Island where she was one of two women prisoners, and where, more than a century later, Nelson Mandela would spend 28 years of his life. Christiansë will be joined by Saidiya Hartman, visiting professor of English & Comparative Literature at Columbia University, whose new book, Lose Your Mother, retraces the history of the Atlantic slave trade by journeying along a slave route in Ghana, following the trail of captives from the hinterland to the Atlantic coast.

In so boldly and so eloquently confronting the silences of history and absence in the archive, both Christiansë and Hartman lead us to a new understanding of the forces that shape history, the meanings of memory, and the profound power of storytelling. It’s a stimulating discussion of the ways in which African descended people grapple with the longing for lost homes and histories that is the legacy of slavery in the US and Africa.

Book signing to follow. 212.854.9850