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Biennial of Thought

Conversation with NoViolet Bulawayo, Najat El Hachmi and Jane Lazarre, moderated by Tania Adam

Reflections on Writing: An Approximation from Curative Narratives



This session moderated by Tania Adam takes the opportunity of the presence of NoViolet Bulawayo, Jane Lazarre and Najat El Hachmi at the Thinking Biennale – Open City to offer a unique occasion for listening to these three writers talking about key aspects of their work

The writers NoViolet Bulawayo, Najat El Hachmi, and Jane Lazarre write from very different social and geopolitical standpoints. Yet there are some common themes in their work. In all three cases, the stories have a solid autobiographical base in which the subaltern position of the main characters, together with their struggle against alienation—whether this is the result of migration, maternity, or a racialised condition—has an essential role in the narrative.

Starting out from these factors, the journalist Tania Adam suggests recovering the approach of the African-American writer Gay Alden Wilentz who explored the healing nature of autobiographical writing for people belonging to groups which have suffered different forms of exclusion and oppression. From this position, writing could be not only a tool for achieving individual stability but also a way of reaffirming the identity of a collective which is constantly struggling for survival and recognition.

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