Dinaw Mengestu: “Political Fictions”

Tuesday, February 2nd

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Storrs Campus, Konover Auditorium, Dodd Center

Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian American novelist and writer. Since earning his MFA at Columbia University in 2005, he has published three novels, all of them New York Times Notable Books, including his most recent All Our Names. As a freelance journalist, he has written for Rolling Stone on the war in Darfur, and for Jane Magazine on the conflict in northern Uganda. His writing has also appeared in Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications. He was Lannan Foundation Chair in Poetics at Georgetown University from 2012-2015. Since his first book was published in 2007, he has received numerous literary awards, and was selected as a MacArthur Fellow in 2012.

During his talk, Mengestu spoke about his personal experience writing novels. His first novel failed, not because it wasn’t well written, but because it lacked important and meaningful details. Mengestu’s main point was that fictions should not exist in a vacuum. Politics and fiction go hand in hand. In order for a fictional world to be believable, it needs to contain certain political details, just like the real world.