Hiraeth (a novel)

The creative project, a novel with the working title ‘Hiraeth’, is conceived of as a mythopeoic journey story undertaken by nine young misfits from different parts of the world, attending a private boarding school in Kenya, who are haunted by a common dream and the persistent summons of a honey-guide. In the story, they end up traversing the African landscape in a Landrover as they follow the honey guide. On their way, they spiral into still-living mythical spaces on the continent (the Matedi Congo river navigators (DRC), the crocodile tamers of Paga (Boukina Faso), the Mourid brotherhoods (Senegal) that co-exist with overt and challenging realities (corruption, war, the small imagination of bad leaders, fear that acquire the forms of mythical beings that the young travellers, in order to return, must slay). The project attempts to explore a couple of questions including: How would a (lyrical) ‘text’ carried in memory and blood give dimensionality and meaning to a place? How can the ‘liminal’ interstices of ‘texts’ that inhabit/haunt the imagination be accessed? Where is the ‘locus of meaning’ in Africa’s imagined geographies? What do these say about a possible other future? How can an exorcism of Africa’s persistent demons be imagined?

Project leader(s):
  • Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Artist-in-residence)

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