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Transnational Series Presents: Aminatta Forna with Maaza Mengiste

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Aminatta Forna discusses her new essay collection 'The Window Seat' with author Maaza Mengiste

About this event

Join the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith for a virtual event with Aminatta Forna and Maaza Mengiste to discuss Forna's new essay collection The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion.

Aminatta Forna is one of our most important literary voices, and her novels have won the Windham Campbell Prize and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book. In this elegantly rendered and wide-ranging collection of new and previously published essays, Forna writes intimately about displacement, trauma and memory, love, and how we coexist and encroach on the non-human world.

Movement is a constant here. In the title piece, “The Window Seat,” she reveals the unexpected enchantments of commercial air travel. In “Obama and the Renaissance Generation,” she documents how, despite the narrative of Obama’s exceptionalism, his father, like her own, was one of a generation of gifted young Africans who came to the United Kingdom and the United States for education and were expected to build their home countries anew after colonialism. In “The Last Vet,” time spent shadowing Dr. Jalloh, the only veterinarian in Sierra Leone, as he works with the street dogs of Freetown, becomes a meditation on what a society’s treatment of animals tells us about its principles. In “Crossroads,” she examines race in America from an African perspective, and in “Power Walking” she describes what it means to walk in the world in a Black woman’s body and in “The Watch” she explores the raptures of sleep and sleeplessness the world over.

Deeply meditative and written with a wry humor, The Window Seat confirms that Forna is a vital voice in international letters.

Aminatta Forna is the author of the novels Ancestor Stones, The Memory of Love, The Hired Man, and Happieness, as well as the memoir The Devil That Danced on the Water. Forna’s books have been translated into twenty two languages. Her essays have appeared in Brick, Freeman’s, Granta, The Guardian, Kenyon Review, Literary Hub, The New York Review of Books Daily, The Observer, and Vogue. She is currently Director and Lannan Foundation Chair of Poetics at Lannan Center for Poeticss and Social Practice at Georgetown University.

Maaza Mengiste is the author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, and a recipient of the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award in Literature, as well as a LA Times Books Prize finalist. It was named a Best Book of 2019 by New York Times, NPR, Time, Elle, and other publications. Beneath the Lion's Gaze, her debut, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books.

About the Transnational Literature Series at Brookline Booksmith

The Transnational Series focuses on stories of migration, the intersection of politics & literature, and works in translation and is supported by the independent bookstore Brookline Booksmith. Subscribe to the Transnational Series newsletter for information on upcoming events, book recommendations, and more.

What You Need to Know to Attend

This virtual event is free to attend but please consider purchasing The Window Seat: Notes from a Life in Motion from Brookline Booksmith. Register on this page to receive a Zoom link on the day of the event. If you don't receive a confirmation email after registering, contact us right away.

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  • Books are held for pickup or shipped after ticket sales have closed.
  • Store Pickup: Pick up your book in person at Brookline Booksmith (Click here for directions). You will receive an email alert when your book is ready.
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We are pleased to make this event free for entry, but you may notice you have the option to donate. By donating, you help Brookline Booksmith build toward a stronger today and a post-pandemic future. Every dollar of support means the world to us. Thank you for your continued support!

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