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African writers to read from work

Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2008, 4:30 p.m. Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St
Breyten Breytenbach and Uzodinma Iweala, two writers who address issues of strife in Africa, will read from their work at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24, in the Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St.

A South African native, Breytenbach is a visual artist and has written many novels, collections of short stories and poems, essays and dramatic works. A committed opponent of apartheid, he is a political activist who emigrated to Paris in the 1960s. In 1975, on a covert visit to South Africa, he was arrested and sentenced to seven years in prison for high treason. His classic memoir of this experience, "The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist," has been translated into more than a dozen languages. Breytenbach, whose most recent work is "Veil of Footsteps (Memoirs of a Fictional Nomadic Character)," is considered to be the finest living poet of the Afrikaans language.

Nigerian-American author Iweala's first novel, "Beasts of No Nation," has received considerable critical attention and has been translated into 11 languages. In the novel, Agu, a young boy in an unnamed West African nation, is recruited into a unit of guerrilla fighters as civil war engulfs his country. Iweala, who is interested in health and human rights issues, has worked on development projects in Nigeria and New York, and currently is attending medical school at Columbia University. In 2007, he was named one of Granta's 20 best young American novelists.

The event is the kickoff of this year's Althea Ward Clark Reading Series sponsored by the Program in Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

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