Experimental African author at Göteborg Book Fair

The Nordic Africa Institute's guest writer 2010, Brian James from Sierra Leone, will participate in this year's Göteborg Book Fair, which takes place between the 23rd and 26th of September in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Brian James was named NAI guest writer in March and started his three-month residency at the Institute in September. He has primarily authored short stories published in anthologies and magazines, but he has also written drama for TV and movies.

Among his works, "On the Road to Godiva" stands out. After a series of macabre events, the main character, a young schoolgirl from Freetown, is transported into a dreamlike existence. With a mixture of 'fantasy and horror' and social criticism, Brian James takes the reader on a journey behind the surface of a person and into her soul.

"I wouldn't call myself a fantasy author as I haven't really settled into the genre yet. I have experimented with various genres in my writing, but I am certainly gravitating toward fantasy fiction. When I read, I like to be transported into a world where different rules apply. It is for this reason that I have always been fascinated by folklore, magic, science fiction and myth," says Brian James.

The civil war in Sierra Leone is the basis of the short story "Devils at the Door." It courageously and incisively depicts how the battling rebels doggedly spread fear and terror among the populace.

At the Book Fair, Brian James will be conversing with Mats Utas, researcher at NAI. They will discuss the situation for young people in Sierra Leone and the conditions for writers. "I don't see much of a difference in the reading culture in Sierra Leone. It remains desperately dormant, which makes it difficult for Sierra Leonean writers to accrue a sizeable local readership," says Brian James.

Brian James is also one of the participants in the seminar Out of Africa. Previous NAI writers-in residence will also take part. Together with moderator Stefan Helgesson, they will talk about migration and exile, language and identity.

For more information, please contact Stefan Helgesson, stefan.helgesson@english.su.se. To book an interview, please contact Patrik Lindgren, patrik.lindgren@afrika2010.se or mobile phone: +46 (0)70 955 72 25.

The Nordic Africa Institute (Nordiska Afrikainstitutet) is a centre in the Nordic region for research, documentation and information on modern Africa. Based in Uppsala, Sweden, the institute is dedicated to providing timely, critical and alternative research on and analysis of Africa in the Nordic countries, and to cooperate between African and Nordic researchers. As a hub and a meeting place in the Nordic region for a growing field of research and analysis, the institute strives to place knowledge of African issues within the reach of scholars, policymakers, politicians, media, students and the general public. The institute is jointly financed by the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden).

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