Elleke will be a plenary speaker at the 27th International FILLM Congress in New Delhi from 15 to 17 March 2017. The theme of the congress is “The Familiar and the Exotic in Language and Literature: The Politics of Perception and Representation”.
On 2 March 2017, Elleke will participate in the Oxford Union’s Education and Racism Debate, where she will argue for the proposition: This House Believes British Education Perpetuates Racism.
The Union’s event page reads:
From history to literature, our education – whether at school or at university – is profoundly intertwined with narratives of race. Britain’s education system has been accused of failing to draw attention to the Empire’s atrocities, neglecting BME perspectives, and discounting non-Western contributions to culture and science – issues which Rhodes Must Fall has recently drawn attention to across Oxford. Is it failing in these ways, and thus perpetuating racism?
On 31 January 2017, Elleke will give a lecture entitled ‘Nelson Mandela: A World Life’ at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) as part of the ‘Weinrebe Lecture Series: Writing World Lives 2’.
Elleke will be giving a reading from The Shouting in the Dark and speaking about ‘Living Bilingual’ for the Linguamania! event at the Ashmolean Museum on 27 January 2017.
Elleke will be participating in ‘Coetzee’s Other Worlds’, a one-day workshop exploring the transnational dimensions of J. M. Coetzee’s writing, to be held at Western Sydney University.
A new review for The Shouting in the Dark is in the latest issue of Moving Worlds: A Journal of Transcultural Writings (16.2). Writer Melissa de Villiers calls it a “fine coming-of-age novel, which vividly explores ideas of memory, identity, and what it means to belong”, noting that:
Boehmer paints a haunting picture of a deeply troubled family unravelling, but as the novel progresses, it becomes clear that this is a double investigation – into the moral chaos of apartheid South Africa as well as self. It is a mark of the writer’s skill that this is achieved organically, with nuance, through the telling of ElIa’s awakening; it never feels heavy-handed or contrived.
Boehmer’s nuanced dramatization of these issues, using her substantial talents for storytelling, brings them in absorbing ways to life.
Tabish Khair has written as evocative review of The Shouting in the Dark in the September–November 2016 issue of Biblio: A Review of Books:
A haunting evocation of a childhood, this novel is also a confirmation of an identity that cannot be reduced to words. […] [A]s was the case with Kurtz and Marlow in Conrad’s great novella [Heart of Darkness], what it finally reveals is the necessity and limitations of words. Except that in Boehmer’s novel, what is brought back from Africa is not a lie made of hollow words. Instead, it is an experience – charged, brutal, contradictory, and yet containing within itself the possibilities of truth.
Elleke will be presenting a seminar entitled “Migration Impacts” at the House of Commons on 1 November 2016.
Migration has been occurring from the Indian sub-continent into the UK for well over a hundred years. How far can our understanding of the impact on our culture help shape our future policy?
The event is part of the University of Oxford’s “Possibilities” series, and is hosted by Virendra Sharma, MP. Entry is by invitation only.
Indian Arrivals, Elleke’s latest academic publication, has won a 2016 ESSE Book Award for Literatures in the English language! The awards were announced at the ESSE (The European Society for the Study of English) conference in Galway on 24 August 2016.
— Elleke Boehmer (@ellekeboehmer) August 25, 2016
Jade Lee has given The Shouting in the Dark a glowing review in Afrikult., praising Boehmer for her seamless “interweaving of the personal, political and historical in such a way that engages the reader.” She writes:
Like the book’s portrayal of South Africa, the story is circular. It is layered and nuanced; it is a song of possibility, longing and grief that continually loops back upon itself making new words out of the stories of the past. Like any excellent book it both speaks to the specificity of its historical and geographical location and to the broader nature of human relationships and belonging.