Thursday, November 3rd– Join us for Thacker Mountain Radio Hour at the Powerhouse in Oxford, MS
Showtime: 6 pm
Can't make it? Reserve a signed copy here.
Igiaba Scego for her recent novel The Color Line.
Inspired by true events, this gorgeous, haunting novel intertwines the lives of two Black female artists more than a century apart, both outsiders in Italy.
It was the middle of the nineteenth century when Lafanu Brown audaciously decided to become an artist. In the wake of the American Civil War, life was especially tough for Black women, but she didn’t let that stop her. The daughter of a Chippewa woman and an African-Haitian man, Lafanu had the rare opportunity to study, travel, and follow her dreams, thanks to her indomitable spirit, but not without facing intolerance and violence. Now, in 1887, living in Rome as one of the city’s most established painters, she is ready to tell her fiancé about her difficult life, which began in a poor family forty years earlier.
In 2019, an Italian art curator of Somali origin is desperately trying to bring to Europe her younger cousin, who is only sixteen and has already tried to reach Italy on a long, treacherous journey. While organizing an art exhibition that will combine the paintings of Lafanu Brown with the artworks of young migrants, the curator becomes more and more obsessed with the life and secrets of the nineteenth-century painter.
Weaving together these two vibrant voices, Igiaba Scego has crafted a powerful exploration of what it means to be “other,” to be a woman, and particularly a Black woman, in a foreign country, yesterday and today.
About the Author
Igiaba Scego was born in Rome to a family of Somali ancestry. She holds a PhD in education on postcolonial subjects and has done extensive academic work in Italy and around the world. The Italian edition of The Color Line won the Premio Napoli, and her memoir La mia casa è dove sono was awarded Italy’s prestigious Mondello Prize. Scego received the Viareggio-Versilia International Award in 2021. Her previous novels include Beyond Babylon (2019) and Adua (2017). Scego is a frequent contributor to “La Lettura,” literary supplement to Corriera della sera, and to the magazines Internazionale and Confronti. She also coedited the anthology Africana.
About the Translators
John Cullen (1942–2021) is the translator of many books from Spanish, French, German, and Italian, including Siegfried Lenz’s The Turncoat, Juli Zeh’s Empty Hearts, Patrick Modiano’s Villa Triste, Kamel Daoud’s The Meursault Investigation, and Philippe Claudel’s Brodeck.
Gregory Conti has translated numerous works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from Italian including works by Emilio Lussu, Rosetta Loy, Elisa Biagini, and Paolo Rumiz. He is a regular contributor to the literary quarterly Raritan.
Thursday, November 3rd – 6:00 pm (CT) WUMS – University of Mississippi
Friday, November 11th – 6 am (CT) WYXR 91.7 FM Memphis, TN.
Saturday, November 12th –3 pm (ET) University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
7 pm (CT) Mississippi Public Broadcasting
9 pm (CT) Alabama Public Radio
“In Rome, an African-American woman artist finds freedom from America’s Reconstruction-era constraints; and a present-day African-Italian woman despairs over her Somali cousin’s quest to cross borders and reach Europe. Pressing themes of slavery’s legacies, colonialism, and citizenship rights shine throughout this beautiful tale of courage and tenacity.”
—Mia Fuller, author of Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities and Italian Imperialism