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Grada Kilomba


Writer with origins in the West African islands São Tomé e Príncipe, her literary work explores memory, trauma, and post-colonialism.
She is the author of the book ‚Plantation Memories’ (2008), a compilation of episodes of everyday racism written in the form of short psychoanalytical stories. Following its release at the 2008 International Literature Festival in Berlin, her book has been internationally acclaimed and ist second edition printed. One of her latest artistic projects was the co-adaptation and the direction of the staged reading „Yesterday, Tomorrow“ based on the book by Nuruddin Farah. A portrayal of personal stories of people who, due to political instability in post-colonial Somalia, find themselves forced to flee their homes, cross borders and become refugees. Loss, borders, politics are at the very centre of this piece. She has been working on several theatre projects and lecturing in the frame of postcolonial studies at the Freie Universität - Berlin; and at the University of Ghana, Legon/Accra, department of African studies and Performing Arts. Currently she lives in Berlin where she is writing in her novel ‚Kalunga’, a story based on the world of the Orixás, the Transatlantic experience, Separation, Memory and Re-encounter.

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    Staged Reading: "Yesterday, Tomorrow". Discussion with actress Araba Walton, writer Grada Kilomba and actor Michael Edode Ojake (July 2010).
    This year is the 125th anniversary of the "Berlin Conference" where Bismarck invite 13 other European governors to divide the African continent among themselves. By the end of this conference Africa was divided in 7 parts: one for the Portuguese, Spanish, French, Belgians, Germans, Italians and British. The continent was dissected into a series of illogical borders and colonial states, laying the framework for more than a century of civil strife and political instability - but what happens when one crosses the borders to Europe?

  • Escrava Anastácia -

    In the first chapter of the author's book 'Plantation Memories': "Colonialism may be seen as 'a thing' of the past, but it is intimately bound to the present. It is a haunting of history that continues to interrupt the present and the future. This alluring association reminds us that history haunts us, like a strange possession, because it has been improperly told. Writing is for me a way of resuscitate a traumatic collective experience and bury it properly."