Precarious Bodies

Valeria Luiselli, Teju Cole and Nadifa Mohamed

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Valeria Luiselli, Teju Cole and Nadifa Mohamed

In her essay Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions, the Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli explores the fates of Latin American child migrants in and on their way to the US. Luiselli herself lives in the US, and in an acute refugee situation, she volunteered as an interpreter and gained first hand knowledge about the violence and discrimination that the refugees experience.

Photographer, writer and performance artist Teju Cole was born in Nigeria, but has lived in New York and the US for much of his life. On several occasions, he has pointed out parallels in the waves of Latin American immigrants entering the US, and the fates of the refugees trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

In her novels, British-Somali writer Nadifa Mohamed has investigated Somali experiences of marginalization and violent structures within the British Empire. Mohamed will moderate this evening’s conversation.

What are the similarities and differences in how the US and Europe deal with “unwanted” people? And what is the language used to describe refugees and migrants? The conversation will focus on Trump’s US, but also on the open wounds of history: the legacy of slavery and colonization, as well as on literary affinities with writers like James Baldwin and Claude McKay.

Prior to the conversation, Teju Cole will perform his critically acclaimed performance Black Paper, about living in a Black body in Trump’s America ( You can buy a combined ticket for the performance and conversation.

Saturday, September 1, Nadifa Mohamed will give a lecture on Claude McKay and the Harlem Renaissance of 1920s New York (

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