City of Thorns is a vivid and powerful account, bringing together stories of nine individuals living in the Dadaab refugee camp, northern Kenya. Created 25 years ago to hold 90,000 Somalian refugees, the camp has since expanded to hold around half a million people from several nations. This book interweaves stories of its residents within the wider forces of regional politics and humanitarian aid.
‘Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education.’
Author Ben Rawlence will be joined by fiction writer Nadifa Mohamed to discuss the personal experiences depicted in the book, the challenges of the region, and the politics of storytelling and narrative.
This event is free but registration is required. Please register your place on Eventbrite.
This event is part of Africa Writes 2016, the Royal African Society’s annual literature and book festival. Celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2016, it has become the UK’s leading platform celebrating the best contemporary African writing. The festival showcases established & emerging literary talent from across the continent & its diaspora, connecting UK audiences to leading authors, poets, publishers and experts. Held 1-3 July at the British Library, the festival will bring together over 60 participants to deliver a diverse programme, including book launches, panel discussions, performances, workshops, & a book fair.
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