Anna Badkhen & Emmanuel Iduma
Penn Book Center & UPenn's Center for Africana Studies present
a reading and discussion with
Anna Badkhen (Fisherman's Blues)
Emmanuel Iduma (A Stranger's Pose)
About FISHERMAN'S BLUES
An intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.
The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.
For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.
Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable–between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman’s Bluesimmerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder.
“A work of quiet genius. Badkhen has an uncanny ability to address some of the most complex of modern human problems — food shortages, human ambition, family relations—while, at the same time, conveying the spiritual awareness and binding allegiance and love that characterize an enduring community of fishing families on the coast of Senegal. Her keenly observed descriptions of the sea are startling and gorgeous, and her patient consideration of what matters most in human life is unexpectedly hopeful.”—Barry Lopez
About A STRANGER'S POSE
A Stranger’s Pose is an evocative and mesmerising account of travels across different African cities. With lyrical and absorbing prose, Emmanuel invites the reader to share in his travels, and the encounters he made along the way. Alongside these depictions of new places and people is a compelling, and very personal, meditation on the meaning of home, and the importance of intimacy to a lone traveller. Through these vignettes – an arrest in a market in N’djamena, meeting the famed photographer Malick Sidibe in Bamako, speaking with a migrant in Tangier who says “the sea is the only way,” – Emmanuel showcases the generosity of strangers, the power of language and translation, and much more, accentuated by a curated selection of captivating photographs.
“Emmanuel Iduma writes with lyricism and stunning clarity, a lush yet elegant style that resists categorization… Only one word can hold it all, beautiful. This book is beautiful."—Chris Abani
About the authors
ANNA BADKHEN has spent most of her life in the Global South. Her immersive investigations of the world's iniquities have yielded six books of literary nonfiction, most recently Fisherman’s Blues. She has written about a dozen wars on three continents, and her essays and dispatches appear in periodicals and literary magazines such as the New York Review of Books, Granta, The Common, Guernica and the New York Times. She is at work on her first novel.
EMMANUEL IDUMA is a writer of fiction and nonfiction. Born and raised in Nigeria, he has contributed essays and stories to journals, magazines, artists’ books, and exhibition catalogues. He is the author of The Sound of Things to Come (first published as Farad in Nigeria), and received a 2017 Creative Capital/Warhol Foundation grant in arts writing, for his blog A Sum of Encounters. He is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, where he obtained an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing. In 2017, he was associate curator of the Nigerian pavilion at the Venice Biennale. He is the author, most recently, of A Stranger’s Pose.
Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 6:30pm to 8:00pm
Penn Book Center
130 S. 34th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 12th, 2019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Cassava Republic Press - November 20th, 2018