The Arts & Culture team at Queen Mary, University of London are thrilled to announce Global Dispatches a knowledge exchange initiative which spans the globe in partnership with Wasafiri.
Wasafiri, who are based on our campus, provide a dynamic platform for mapping new landscapes in contemporary international writing featuring a diverse range of voices from across the UK and beyond. Their goal is to discover, support and promote the world’s best new writing, and to encourage readers and writers to travel the world via the word.
Global Dispatches is an essay series of exchanges and conversations between creative writers and academics . Sending dispatches from around the world – writing from Tasmania and South Africa, the UAE and Argentina, England and Canada – six writers will reflect on themes of Climate, Justice, Childcare, Racism, Future, and Isolation, respectively—all in the context of Covid-19. In response to these themes Queen Mary academics will respond with their own thoughts and insights to the issues being presented.
This series is part of an ongoing Queen Mary Conversations project which brings together academics with arts and cultural workers to exchange knowledge, find synergy and celebrate both the research undertaken at Queen Mary alongside its rich and varied partnerships with the arts and cultural sector.
The first of the pieces entitled "Unfamiliar Creatures" is now published. This was written by the 2020 Booker Prize shortlisted writer of Burnt Sugar, Avni Doshi. Avni pens a moving life-writing piece on being pregnant during the pandemic—and the fears and anxieties of being a new mother in a strange new world in Dubai. Queen Mary academic Professor Kiera Vaclavik (Co-founder and Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Childhood Culture has penned a response to this called Covid Kids.
This will be followed in coming weeks by Hobart-based Robbie Arnott, author of Flames and The Rain Heron, who laments the loss of a fish—and forest fires in Tasmania to which Dr James Bradley (School of Geography) will respond.
Margarita García Robayo – born in Cartagena, Colombia, and currently based in Buenos Aires, Argentina – takes from life to reflect on racism in South America, and on publishing her new novel, Holiday Heart, during a pandemic. Her piece has been paired with Professor Penny Green (School of Law).
There will be three more pairings coming at the beginning of 2021. Keep an eye on this page and the Wasafiri homepage for more information.