The Black Atlantic is one of the most influential cultural nodes of the social contemporary. But its realities are always under threat of erasure. What are some of the energies at work today that inhabit the historical circuit of influence between the UK, the USA, the Caribbean, Brazil, and West Africa? Teju Cole’s talk, “Black on All Sides”, will look at certain gestures in contemporary culture – in music, literature, and the visual arts – and the doors they opens for a more inclusive idea of society.
Cole was born in the US to Nigerian parents, and raised in Nigeria. He currently lives in Brooklyn, and is the Distinguished Writer in Residence at Bard College and photography critic of the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of two books: Every Day is for the Thief, named a book of the year by the New York Times, the Globe and Mail, NPR, and the Telegraph, and shortlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award; and Open City, which also featured on numerous book of the year lists, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award, the New York City Book Award for Fiction, the Rosenthal Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Internationaler Literaturpreis.
Cole has also contributed to the New York Times, the New Yorker, Granta, and several other magazines. His forthcoming book is Known and Strange Things, a collection of essays. His photography has been exhibited in India, Iceland, and the US, published in a number of journals, and will be the subject of a solo exhibition in Italy in April 2016.
After the talk and a Q&A session, there will be an opportunity for book signing.
* The event is open to everybody. For those not at SOAS, to purchase a ticket you will need to set up a guest account via the Students’ Union website (click “Log in” on the top right corner, and then click “Staff & Guests”, and then “Register New Account”).