Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our November Author: Noo Saro-Wiwa



This month our reading adventure is a road trip with Noo Saro-Wiwa. The short video above lets you get acquainted with the author of Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (and offers an endorsement of another Rights Readers favorite, Michela Wrong). Other brief audio interviews (of better quality than the one above) are available from PRI and the BBC. This Guardian profile might be the best introduction and goes to the heart of the book --beyond travelogue to her journey towards reconciliation with the country where her father, writer and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, was executed,
Spending time in Nigeria left her deeply, indelibly impressed by her father's achievements, she says. "It's such an incredibly tough country, just to live in. You see how people struggle. The skills you need merely to survive there … It's just so much more difficult than in the UK. So to truly see what my father achieved, from such a disadvantaged background economically and ethnically, and the challenges he took on over and above that – facing down a massive oil multinational, a military dictatorship. I knew he was brave, but only now do I really understand just how monumental it was, what he did."
One reason we wanted to read Noo's book was because we had so much enjoyed her brother Ken's very moving book, In the Shadow of a Saint: A Son's Journey to Understand His Father's Legacy. It's one of my all-time favorite Rights Readers selections. If you picked up Transwonderland and want to go deeper it's worth tracking down,
What was it like to grow up with such a politically active and socially conscious father? How do you come to terms with your father's imprisonment and execution? How do you cope with the endless international press speculation about your father's life and character? And how do you respond when international attention is focused on you? How do you make your own way in life against your father's expectations of you, especially when you carry the same name? How do you live with such a complex personal history? This frank and memorable depiction of Ken Saro-Wiwa's childhood and relationship with his father vividly recounts the journey he took to answer those questions.
Here's an interview with Ken about the book:


I don't want to leave out sister Zina out either. Get to know this young filmmaker at her home page zinasarowiwa.com. Check out some of her short experimental films, try The Deliverance Of Comfort which shares some concerns found in Transwonderland or Phyllis which she describes as "alt-Nollywood."

Definitely a lot of talent in the family (Papa would be proud!) and we're looking forward to keeping an eye on their future projects!
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