Articles

Literature of Exile: Viet Thanh Nguyen and the Vietnamese Refugee Experience

Unlike some of the other exiles mentioned on this blog, the story of the Vietnamese refugees is generally well- known in the United States, since the US was so directly involved in creating the crisis. After the fall of Saigon, over 130,000 Vietnamese with ties to the South Vietnamese government or the United States, escaped … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Viet Thanh Nguyen and the Vietnamese Refugee Experience

Literature of Exile: Clemantine Wamariya and exile as performance

"This is from your family in Rwanda", Oprah said, handing me a tan envelope. She looked solemn, confident in her purpose. "From your father and your mother and your sisters and your brother". I opened the envelope and pulled out a sheet of blue paper. Then Oprah put her hand on mine to stop me … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Clemantine Wamariya and exile as performance

#WorldKidLitWednesday: Little Fox

Little Fox catches air during his pursuit of two purple butterflies, and then the earth rushes up to meet him with a THUMP! As he lies, dazed, he starts to dream as he has never dreamt before. He dreams of good things like his mommy’s milk, the sights and smells of little animals and flowers, … Continue reading #WorldKidLitWednesday: Little Fox

Literature of Exile: Hamid Ismailov and Exile as Folktale

“It is boundlessly difficult to be a stranger. Your usual ways of behaving bear no fruit: if your habits are not fit for purpose, you might as well be a wheel off its axle, alone over and over again.” “I am a stranger at home, and I am nobody abroad.” A common trope in folklore … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Hamid Ismailov and Exile as Folktale

Literature of Exile: Dina Nayeri

Sometimes all that’s left of value in an exile’s life is his identity. Please stop asking people to rub out their face as tribute. Many refugees express profound thankfulness and love for their adopted homeland, yet they often feel burdened with the obligation to embrace their new country and reject the old completely. Criticism of … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Dina Nayeri

Literature of Exile: Şavkar Altınel

Today I am handing over guest editor duties to Turkish author Kaya Genc. Thank you Kaya for this thoughtful piece! Exile wasn’t a choice for Turkish dissidents of the twentieth century. It was a necessity. Turkish literature’s luminaries, from the poet Nâzım Hikmet to the novelist Halide Edip Adıvar, lived abroad because autocrats who ruled … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Şavkar Altınel

Literature of Exile: Graphic Novels

One of the coolest trends in literature is the proliferation of graphic novels as a format for addressing serious issues. Alison Bechdel, Daniel Clowes, and Chris Ware are just a few author/artists who have demonstrated that graphic novels can be high art and great literature. The most dramatic and influential graphic novel of the late … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Graphic Novels

Literature of Exile: Burundi’s Gaël Faye

I used to think I was exiled from my country. But, in retracing the steps of my past, I have understood that I was exiled from my childhood. Which seems so much crueler. Exile is always a profoundly traumatic experience. But what of those exiled twice? While the world is largely aware of the Rwandan genocide … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Burundi’s Gaël Faye

Literature of Exile: Dubravka Ugrešić

“The invisibility in which we live next to one another is appalling" Perhaps the only thing more painful than leaving a beloved country behind is to realize that one's former country no longer exists. Emigres from the former Yugoslavia find themselves in this perplexing, and bewildering predicament: are they now merely Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian? If, … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Dubravka Ugrešić

Literature of Exile: Cuba in the fiction of Cristina Garcia, Ana Menendez, and Achy Obejas

"…where we come from the greatest achievement is to leave.” Arguably one of the richest traditions in exile literature is that of Cuban Americans. Given the strong economic and cultural ties between the two countries before Castro's revolution in 1959, it was hardly surprising that so many Cubans who fled the Communist takeover made the … Continue reading Literature of Exile: Cuba in the fiction of Cristina Garcia, Ana Menendez, and Achy Obejas