Maaza Mengiste on How Writing and Justice Are Intertwined
From the Quarantine Tapes Podcast with Paul Holdengraber
Hosted by Paul Holdengräber, The Quarantine Tapes chronicle shifting paradigms in the age of social distancing. Each day, Paul calls a guest for a brief discussion about how they are experiencing the global pandemic.
On episode 95 of The Quarantine Tapes, Paul Holdengräber is joined by writer Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King. Maaza was in Switzerland until recently and she talks with Paul about how that shaped her experience of the early months of the pandemic. Their conversation then turns to the relationship between fiction and history, with Maaza offering her insights into how writing and justice are intertwined. Paul and Maaza go on to talk about the poetry that has been keeping them company lately and about Maaza’s Project 3541, an archive of historical photographs from the Italo-Ethiopian War. Their conversation offers a thoughtful insight into Maaza’s perspective on history, power, and the role of writing in this moment.
To listen to the episode, as well as the whole archive of The Quarantine Tapes, subscribe and listen on iTunes or wherever else you find your favorite podcasts.
Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright scholar and professor at Queens College, she is the author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze and a 2018 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She lives in New York City.