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Dinaw Mengestu

Dinaw Mengestu - foto David Burnett
Dinaw Mengestu - foto David Burnett

(Ethiopia, 1978) is one of the most promising African-American writers of the moment. In his novels he scetches the problems of identity of African emigrants in the US. Mengestu, who fled his native Ethiopia with his parents in order to start a new life in the US, personally experiences how to have to go through life with an exotic name. His stories are populated with African emigrants trying to find their way in American society. Mengestu's first novel, The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears (2007), deals with an Ethiopian shopkeeper in a Washington slum who develops a close relationship with a white history teacher and her biracial daughter. His second book, How to Read the Air (2010), depicts a young man going in search of his African parents' roots. Mengestu also writes non-fiction for magazine like Rolling Stone, Harper's and Granta. He was a Granta correspondent working from Congo, Uganda and Darfur. Mengestu has won various prizes, the Guardian First Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among others. He lives in Paris with his wife and his child.

(WU 2012)

Archive available for: Dinaw Mengestu

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 1

    Writers reading

    Enjoy the work of the writers you have come to see. They read old and new work. Without further ado and without discussion. In English.

  • Winternachten 2012 – Winternacht 1

    How to be a Dictator in Africa

    Writers put themselves in the shoes of African dictators. They take us with them in the spirit of the once so optimistic leaders who, after the independence of their countries, turned into dictators one by one. In doing so these writers try to give an insight in the world they left behind, from Somalia to Nigeria, and from Sudan to Congo. In English.
    David van Reybrouck replaces Mansoura Ez Eldin, who had to cancel for familiy reasons.