Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."
Maaza mengiste by Nina subin, beneath the lion's gaze by jadeannahughes.com, the shadow king by for coloured girls instagram

Maaza Mengiste (Credit: Nina Subin) and her two novels, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze (Credit: jadeannahughes.com) and The Shadow King (Credit: For Colored Girls’ Instagram).

In a feature on the American TV program PBS, the novelist Maaza Mengiste talks about her home country, Ethiopia, which she has always written about. Her family had fled the country after Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. Although the intellectual class and citizens connected to the emperor were targeted, her family was able to leave with ease as her father was an executive at Ethiopian Airlines.

“When I started writing, I realised that my distance from Ethiopia enabled me to write,” she said. Her debut, the 2010 novel Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was set during the Ethiopian Revolution. After it came out, her family began to talk candidly about what happened. In 2019, she published her second, The Shadow King, which centres the women who fought during the Italo-Ethiopian War of 1937-45. She had earlier thrown away the first draft. Her essay on writing the novel was shortlisted for The 2019 Brittle Paper Award for Essays & Think Pieces. The book was last year optioned for film, has won a 2020 Arts and Letters Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and is currently a finalist for the 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes.

In the video, she also talks about Addis Ababa Noir, the anthology she edited, and questions of authority, her right to tell the stories, her choice of fiction. She suggests that her third novel will have a different direction.

Watch the video on PBS.

Tags: , , , , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

One Response to “Watch Maaza Mengiste Talk Writing Ethiopia on PBS” Subscribe

  1. xcougars.one April 14, 2020 at 12:26 pm #

    Fastidious answers in return oof tһiѕ question ԝith real arguments ɑnd describing aⅼl about thɑt.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

#WeTurnToBooks Returns! Catch Nnedi Okorafor, Kiru Taye, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, & Ayesha Harruna Attah Live on Instagram

WeTurnToBooks Site

Hey Brittle Paper readers and followers! We’re excited to announce the second installment of our #WeTurnToBooks series on Instagram Live, […]

Tomi Adeyemi Recommends 5 Books to Escape Into While You’re Social Distancing

Untitled design

Wondering what’s on Tomi Adeyemi’s quarantine reading list? Adeyemi recently shared five books she is reading (and re-reading) during the […]

All the Scoop on Fiston Mujila’s Forthcoming Novel The Villain’s Dance

Fiston Mujila The Villain's Dance

Fiston Mujila’s second novel is set for a September 2020 release by France-based publishing powerhouse Éditions Métailié. It has been […]

Bakwa Books Acquires English Translation Rights for Hemley Boum’s Recent Novel

Bakwa Book Hemley Boum

Bakwa Books has acquired the English translation rights to Les Jours Viennent et Passent, a novel by Cameroonian writer Hemley […]

The African Speculative Fiction Society Announces the Shortlists for the 2020 Nommo Awards

nomo-awards

Shortlists for the 2020 Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction by Africans are out. Established in 2017, the awards “recognize speculative […]

For a Chance to Win £1,000, Submit Your Work to the Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Wasafiri is a magazine for international contemporary writing, known for publishing pieces by African writers like Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.