Unveiling the first of its kind event across the Middle East, Africa and the Sub-continent regions, Ananke’s Women in Literature Festival 2021 features some of the most noteworthy names in the literary world. Joining a distinguished line-up of authors, is Nathalie Etoke who will be talking about her book Shades of Black published by Seagull Books.
Nathalie Etoke is Associate Professor of Francophone and Africana Studies at the Graduate Center, CUNY (The City University of New York). Her articles have appeared in Research in African Literatures, French Politics and Culture, Nouvelles Études Francophones, Présence Francophone, the International Journal of Francophone Studies, and the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy. She is the author of L’Écriture du corps féminin dans la littérature de l’Afrique francophone au sud du Sahara and of Melancholia Africana l’indispensable dépassement de la condition noire, which won the 2012 Frantz Fanon Prize from the Caribbean Philosophical Association. In 2011, she directed Afro Diasporic French Identities, a documentary on race, identity and citizenship in contemporary France.
The Women in Literature Festival 2021 is a celebration of the literary genius, creative journeys and lived artistic experiences of the female gender. Marking Women’s History Month and Women’s Day, the 3-day event will take place on (March 30-April 1) to also observe World Book and Copyright Day.
The event aims to look at literature from a gender perspective, the impact and role of translations that expand the scope and audience reach. From Dostoevsky to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, readers have enjoyed many adventures. And while they are able to relish the sublime through immense efforts in translations that preserve authors’ authenticity, the role of translators, particularly female translators remain largely unacknowledged, long forgotten and even unrecognized.
Through this festival, Ananke strives to not just celebrate creativity of female fiction and non-fiction writers, but to highlight female literary history and showcase – many a times – invisibilized women writers in cultural festival line-ups. The Women in Literature Festival plans to highlight how literature produced by women needs to be showcased, promoted and celebrated globally via translations, digital documentation and more.
With the purpose of rediscovering literature under a gender lens, the Festival also aims to trigger inclusive conversations on the sociology of discrimination, misogyny, and racism. Several dialogues at the digital event will examine the societal constructs of silence and complicity; how it impacts works of literature through propagation as well as resistance to it.
Talking about her participation at the event and her book, Shades of Black, which will be unveiled during her talk, Nathalie said: “I think it is important to have continuous inclusive conversations about the dilemma and paradox of Black people, -women included- to create a society that dismantles a colonial and oppressive understanding of freedom.”
Adding: “On the one hand, we have been socialized to accept power dynamics that confine specific human groups to the margins and robbed them of the power to achieve their full potential. On the other hand, so called democratic societies are constantly extolling the virtues of freedom without acknowledging that it was achieved at the expense of other people. I am fighting against this colonial understanding of freedom. Freedom must be decolonized. With regard to women of color, freedom cannot be achieved without challenging patriarchy and heteronormativity. They must be able to achieve their full potential in their own terms. They must not only confront white supremacy, they also have to challenge the sexualized distribution of social roles that undermines their ability to be free.”
Confirmed speakers also include notable names such as pioneer of second wave feminism, Phyllis Chesler, Resident Director Aurat Foundation Pakistan Mahnaz Rehman, inspirational academicians writers and award winning authors: Sheela Reddy, Leonora Miano, Baela Raza Jamil, Moni Mohsin, Naima Rashid, Dr. Amina Yaqin, Faiqa Mansab, Aekta Kapoor, Radhika Tabrez, Piyusha Vir, Karen Osman, Mehr F Husain, Anchal Malhotra, Deepti Menon, Laaleen Sukhera, Nida Usman Chaudhary, Anupama Jain, Lakshana Palat, Mini Shivakumar Menon, Saba Karim Khan, Rashin Choudhry, Dina BenBrahim, Maha Tazi, Ana Serrano Telleria, Amrita Mukherjee, Sutapa Basu, Sana Munir, Kirthi Jayaumar, Mandy Sanghera, Afshan Shafi and many more.
Partnering with leading authors, literary & feminist entities and publishers including Zuka Books, Readomania, Seagull Books, Zubaan Books, the Gender Security Project, Authors Alliance, Ananke hopes to set a new standard in literary festivals where there is greater visibility of female literati as well as diversified conversation on inclusion.
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Ananke is a non-profit, digital platform empowering through awareness, advocacy and education. Launched in 2014 in Dubai UAE, the organization strives to trigger conversations on inclusion, gender equality and women’s economic empowerment in the digital realm. Breaking barriers to empower women, the organization is a World Summit on Information Society (WSIS) nominee for 2019 and 2020. Recently, Ananke hosted the first ever digital Girl Summit across the MENA and Subcontinent regions with attendees from all over the world.
Ananke also publishes special editions on the ISSUU platform and can be viewed here.