African Book Club | SILENCE IS MY MOTHER TONGUE by Sulaiman Addonia
Please note the special time for this book club meeting: 12 noon – 1:30 pm
THE AFRICAN BOOK CLUB @ MOAD
An ongoing series in partnership with Faith Adiele.
September’s book selection is Silence is My Mother Tongue by Sulaiman Addonia. The author will join us on Sunday, October 25th to discuss the book with The African Book Club. The earlier start time is to accommodate his time zone. (Image credit: Lyse Ishimwe)
How to participate: Get a copy of the book, read it in advance of the meeting, and then discuss the book with a group of people interested in reading African literature online via zoom on October 25th at 5:00 PM. After you register you will receive information to join via zoom.
Silence is My Mother Tongue will be available from our MoAD bookstore soon. Release date is September 8th.
You can view a list of all the books previously read and discussed in African Book Club, and if you order through bookshop, MoAD will receive a percentage of the sale: https://bookshop.org/lists/african-book-club
Hosted by Faith Adiele, Author, Professor & Co-Founder of African Book Club
About the Book
A sensuous, textured novel of life in a refugee camp, long-listed for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction
On a hill overlooking a refugee camp in Sudan, a young man strings up bedsheets that, in an act of imaginative resilience, will serve as a screen in his silent cinema. From the cinema he can see all the comings and goings in the camp, especially those of two new arrivals: a girl named Saba, and her mute brother, Hagos.
For these siblings, adapting to life in the camp is not easy. Saba mourns the future she lost when she was forced to abandon school, while Hagos, scorned for his inability to speak, must live vicariously through his sister. Both resist societal expectations by seeking to redefine love, sex, and gender roles in their lives, and when a businessman opens a shop and befriends Hagos, they cast off those pressures and make an unconventional choice.
With this cast of complex, beautifully drawn characters, Sulaiman Addonia details the textures and rhythms of everyday life in a refugee camp, and questions what it means to be an individual when one has lost all that makes a home or a future. Intimate and subversive, Silence Is My Mother Tongue dissects the ways society wages war on women and explores the stories we must tell to survive in a broken, inhospitable environment.
About the Author
Sulaiman Addonia spent his early life in a refugee camp and went on to earn an MA from the University of London. His novel The Consequences of Love was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and has been translated into more than twenty languages.
“The novel’s vignette structure underscores the fragmentary, hallucinatory quality of trauma and memory. A memorable chronicle about ‘the bitterness of exile’ and the endurance of the spirit.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Addonia’s chorus of characters is exquisite, and his interrogation of both traditionalism and love in the desperate circumstances of a Sudanese refugee camp makes for a stunning, enveloping read.”—Wayétu Moore, author of The Dragons, the Giant, The Women
“Stunning. Addonia’s prose layers imagery and insight to keep us glued right to the spectacular end. This is a splendid, compulsive reading experience.”—Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze
“Silence is My Mother Tongue is a remarkably accomplished and circuitously constructed tale that highlights the poetic aesthetic of its creator as well as its central protagonist.”—Ru Freeman, author of On Sal Mal Lane