Born on the African continent, Aminatta and Glen were both eyewitnesses to violent struggles over power and freedom in their countries. As writers who have lived in the USA, they provide keen insights into what it is like to be a foreigner in America.
Watch this event trailer to learn more about Aminatta, Glenn, and the conversation that occurred on July 8, 2021:
Aminatta Forna, OBE (born 1964) is a Scottish and Sierra Leonean writer. She is the author of a memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water, and four novels: Ancestor Stones (2006), The Memory of Love (2010), The Hired Man (2013) and Happiness (2018). Her novel The Memory of Love was awarded the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for "Best Book" in 2011, and was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction. Forna is Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University and was, until recently, Sterling Brown Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College in Massachusetts. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
Glen Retief grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era, where he was involved in national as well as LGBT liberation movements. His book The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood (St. Martin’s Press, April 2011) won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as an Africa Book Club Book of 2011. He has published short stories and memoirs in journals including Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, and Hotel Amerika. He writes an occasional column of personal essays for the South African newspaper, The Daily Maverick; teaches Creative Nonfiction at Susquehanna University; and is currently a 2021-22 Fulbright US Scholar in Mamelodi, South Africa.