Broadening the Gaze: African & Diaspora Travel Writing in the 21st Century
Saturday 12 July, 15:30 – 16:30
BL Conference Centre, FREE
Panel discussion featuring Noo Saro-Wiwa, author of Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria; Justin Edwards, co-editor of Other Routes: 1500 Years of African & Asian Travel Writing; and Andy Akinwolere, broadcaster. Moderated by Fatimah Kelleher, international social development consultant and writer.
Centuries old, travel writing has been instrumental in crafting perceptions of the world we live in. Journeying authors have wielded significant influence over audiences who have wanted to ‘see’ beyond their own square miles. Noted historical travel writers have included Arabs, Asians and Africans. However, over the last 400 years, travel literature has been dominated by western colonial and post-colonial viewpoints, which in turn have been dominated by the white, male, upper and middle class gaze. Exploring the contribution of African and Diaspora writers to the genre, this session asks: What space is there for the “African Gaze” in contemporary travel literature? How is travel writing by African and Diaspora writers changing the way the world sees/perceives the continent and the globe, and how much of the African experience is being documented through travel writing? How are African and Diaspora writers able to approach the genre from the vantage point of alternative journeys and writing styles, including migration, the “return home”, the diary, autobiography, the memoir?
Picture credit: Johny Pitts