What a time to be alive for readers
Every time we step into a book store we are blown away by the amount of great quality literature available. The migration and diaspora literature genre is now incredibly prolific, also thanks to a new generation of authors grown up in the diaspora publishing at fast pace.
New and well established authors are making it ever so easy to fall in love with migration and diaspora literature and to engage with themes such as migration, displacement, border brutality, as well as identity, belonging and their intersections.
In June 2018, after years discussing with each other the books we love, we decided to open the conversation and to launch our Migration & Diaspora Book Club. We meet every 2-3 months in central-ish locations to talk about a novel agreed a couple of months in advance.
No background knowledge about migration or literature is required, and we usually select books that can be enjoyed also by people whose mother language is not English. Our book club is free, but we issue a limited number of tickets to make sure that the conversation remains meaningful and accessible. If you are interested, you are welcome to join us for just one meeting or to attend the club regularly.
Our next book
Disoriental, by Negar Djavadi
Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of ten in the company of her mother and sisters to join her father in France. Now twenty-five and facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories and the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of fifty-two wives, and her parents, Darius and Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them.
In this high-spirited, kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics, and culture punctuate stories of family drama and triumph. Yet it is Kimiâ herself––punk-rock aficionado, storyteller extraordinaire, a Scheherazade of our time, and above all a modern woman divided between family traditions and her own “disorientalization”––who forms the heart of this bestselling and beloved novel.
We will host the book club during Refugee Week 2019. With Refugee Week theme’s being “Me, You and those who came before” Disoriental makes the perfect novel to celebrate the contribution of migrants and refugees.
When? Saturday 22 June, 11am
Where? The garden of the Victoria & Albert Museum, Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL
What have we read so far?
The Lonely Londoners, by Sam Selvon
London, 1950s. Amid cold afternoons and grey skies, a group of people recently arrived from the West Indies are making the city their new home.
Exit West, by Mohsin Hamid
Nadia and Saeed meet and fall in love. Soon after that, their unnamed city becomes the theatre of a war, and Nadia and Saeed decide to leave.
In Our Mad and Furious City, by Guy Gunaratne
Four blocks of council houses in North London are the whole universe for teenager Selvon, Yusuf and Ardan, until their friendship and allegiances are put to hard test.
Home Fire, by Kamila Shamsie
When London-raised Parvaiz decides to join ISIS, his sisters are left to face the consequences of his actions.