Literary Birthdays – Week of April 18 – 24

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April 18

Kostas Ferris

Costas [or Kostas] Ferris (b. 1935) – Greek film director, screenwriter, lyricist – Rembetiko (1983)

Read a biography of Costas Ferris

Watch a film clip from Rembetiko (in Greek)

Read the lyrics (by Costas Ferris) for
the album
666 (Vangelis, 1972)

April 19

Maria Ember (b. 1931) – Hungarian novelist, Jewish Holocaust historian – Hairpin Turn / Hajtukanyar (1974)

Read a biography of Maria Ember and
an excerpt from her novel
Hairpin Turn

A bibliography of Maria Ember

April 20

 Erna Brodber (b. 1940) – Jamaican novelist, cultural historian – Louisiana (1994)

Read about Erna Brodber here and here

Erna Brodber’s bibliography

Read a BOMB magazine interview with Erna Brodber

Louisiana was part of my larger interest in Africa and diaspora, and the need for blacks of the diaspora, and to a certain extent of Africa, to know each other and to understand that you have to get through it together, for political purposes if nothing else. This is where my preaching comes in—I told you that if I had the courage of a preacher I probably wouldn’t write. When I visited Egypt and Somalia with a group of African Americans and Africans, we were so torn, there was so much fighting among us, and I swore that part of my business would be to let us know that we have to be one. …Louisiana was an attempt to say, “Look, we’re the same thing.”

Read Louisiana excerpts here

April 21

Kole Omotosho (b. 1943) – Nigerian novelist, playwright, essayist – Just Before Dawn (1988)  Cole Omotosho

Read about Kole Omotosho here and here and here

Read a recent editorial by Kole Omotosho

“Venice is one of the most fascinating nations that ever came into being, grew up, matured and reigned for over a thousand years until it was brought to an end by Napoleon in 1797. After perhaps one of the most complicated electoral systems ever invented by the human mind, the successful Doge (pronounced do-jay, like the Hausa word doje) had to take a personal coronation oath, over and above the oath of office. In it the Doge swears to renounce all claims on the revenue of the state, the only exception being his salary (payable quarterly), certain shares from tributes, specified quantities of apples, cherries and crabs from the colonies. He swore not to accept any presents except some quantity of food and wine but such presents are not to be accepted if the donors have favours to ask.

*  *  *

To say that it is too late for Nigeria to change its ways is putting it mildly. Whichever way you take it – politically, economically, socially, philosophically, religiously – it is too late to ask people to change their ways. Continuously, Nigerians insisted that everybody must be allowed to break the rules, ride roughshod on everything and still be given a chance. … Each layer of rubbish pressing down the previous one, oozing its poisonous odours and excretions until the whole place is unbearably impossible to live in. And, miracle of miracles, people continue to live in it. As Fela said, suffering and smiling, looking and laughing! It is the laughter of the mad, nothing else and it is to prevent one from going for the rope around the neck.

Watch Kole Omotosho speak about an individual’s sense of identity

April 22

Ana Maria Shua Ana Maria Shua (b. 1951) – Argentinian novelist, poet

Read about Ana Maria Shua here and here

Watch an interview of Ana Maria Shua (in Spanish)

April 23

Fadil Hadzic (b. 1922) – Yugoslavian (Bosnian/Croatian) journalist, playwright, screenwriter, filmmaker – Zapamtite Vukovar / Remember Vukovar (2008)

Read about Fadil Hadzic here

Read an interview with Fadil Hadzic (Croatian, 2002)

Watch a feature about Hadzic’s 2008 film
Remember Vukovar (in Croatian)

(Translation of YouTube description)

The film opens the day before the occupation of Vukovar. Vukovar reveals the tragedy of the first rebellion by occupation, when thousands of veterans (half of them left without ammunition), and fifteen thousand civilians, women, elderly and children were hiding in the cellars of ruined houses. The main heroes of the film’s stories are journalists from Radio Vukovar, led by Sinisa Glavasevic.

The story ends with the execution at Ovcara, where the executions were carried out at night, mostly from the hospital, when “Ustasha” arrived.  Under   moonlight they  shot the journalist Siniša Glavašević and another two hundred Vukovar defenders with the approval of the (nacerena armijskih) elders. Major Djokovic ordered his captain: “Tell the soldiers they did not see what they saw, and what they did not see did not happen.”

Watch a trailer for Remember Vukovar

April 24

_ Eric Bogosian (b. 1953) – U.S. playwright, monologist, novelist – Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll

Read about Eric Bogosian here and here

Eric Bogosian performs a character

Eric Bogosian about writing SubUrbia:

My dramas are nothing more than imaginary conversations between the people who are important in my life. I meet all sorts of people, but I “keep” some of them in my head and employ them in a sort of holographic drama. Though I no longer lived in Woburn, my friend were still very alive in the landscape of my mind.  Through them I felt happiness, longing, regrets, hope — the stuff of drama.

Read excerpts of SubUrbia

Read excerpts of Sex, drugs, rock & roll

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