As part of the 2018 Literary Mews, La Maison Française of NYU and PEN World Voices Festival present Meditations on Exile, a conversation between Xiaolu Guo, Dunya Mikhail and Hossein M Abkenar moderated by Dinaw Mengestu.
Being forced to leave one’s country involves profound physical dislocation as well as the emotional upheaval of being separated from family, friends, and the very roots of our existence. Often accompanying this change is the need to adjust to a new place, the strangeness and the stresses of crossing into a different world. Each panelist has experienced this. They talk about why they needed to upend their former lives and how they have adapted to their new ones.
Xiaolu Guo, named one of Granta‘s Best Young British Novelists, is the author of five books, including Nine Continents, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers, and I Am China. Guo has directed several award-winning films. She lives in London and Berlin.
Dunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965. While working as a journalist for The Baghdad Observer, she faced increasing threats from authorities and fled to the United States in the mid-90s. She is the author of The Beekeeper, forthcoming from New Directions.
Hossein Mortezaeian Abkenar is an Iranian fiction writer and screenwriter. His 2006 novel, A Scorpion on the Steps of Andimeshk Railroad Station, received the 2007 Hooshang Golshiri Literary Award, among others, and his screenplay, No One Knows About Persian Cats, won acclaim at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival. His works are banned from publication and sale in Iran due to their antiwar and critical subject.
Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian-American author of three novels, most recently All Our Names. His debut novel, The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears, won the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He was a 2013 MacArthur Foundation Fellow and is a member of the PEN America Board.
The event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend this event, please reserve a ticket here. Thank you!