Tune In This Week
“Writers on Writing” Radio Show
Sunday, Sept. 29, and Oct.6, 2019
Interview with Maaza Mengiste
With Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Executive Director
Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY
WNYE 91.5 FM
Sundays, 7 PM – 7:30 PM
Listen at WMEC Radio: http://wmec.mec.cuny.edu
About the Episode
Dr. Brenda Greene interviews Maaza Mengiste, author The Shadow King (W.W. Norton, 2019). They discuss Mengiste’s motivation for writing the novel, her writing process, the structure of the novel and importance of telling stories that provide the experiences of Blacks throughout the African diaspora. The novel, steeped in the history of Ethiopia, provides an exploration of the Italian war of aggression against Ethiopia and centers the Black women who contributed to this struggle. In reading this well-researched and comprehensive portrait of the Ethiopian war, the reader is reminded that Mengiste is first and foremost a literary writer. Her blending of poetry and prose, her choice for the structure of the novel, and her literary references speak to her resolve to crafting a significant and extraordinary novel.
About the Author
Maaza Mengiste, born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the “10 Best Contemporary African Books and named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. Her fiction and nonfiction can be found in The New Yorker, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, BBC Radio, and Lettre. Mengiste is a Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA Creative Writing and Literary Translation program at Queens College.
Photograph by Nina Subin