PEN World Voices Festival | NYC April 25 – May 1, 2016

The Arrivants

Teju Cole
Photo by Retha Ferguson

At The Arrivants, moderator Brent Edwards spoke about Kamau Brathwaite’s life and played a recording of one of Brathwaite’s reading dating from the late 1970s. The panelists, Teju Cole, Nathalie Handal, and Binyavanga Wainaina, described their connection to The Arrivants, and subsequently read a poem of their choosing from the book with an explanation of their choice. Themes of fragmentation, displacement, and home were discussed, and the panelists reflected on  how these themes surfaced in their own lives and work. Brathwaite’s literary and geographical influences, along with the visual aspect of his poems were also touched upon. The night ended with a Q&A.


Co-presented with the Columbia University School of the Arts Office of Community Outreach and Education and the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.