The narratives in Greetings from Grandpa are mellow and cheerful testimonies of the sojourn of the human spirit as it survives freedom under implausible circumstances, whether at home or in exile. Grandchildren are born, calming the nerves of exile; dear friends back home die of AIDS, unsettling gentle memories; China and Asia arrive in Africa and nobody raises a finger; greedy bureaucrats syphon billions from accountant general’s coffers; but Africa marches on regardless, stubbornly celebrating life, sometimes in traditional symbols; sometimes by inventing delightful beef festivals.
Jack Mapanje was head of the Department of English at the University of Malawi when the Malawi authorities arrested him in 1987 after his first book of poems had been banned, and he was released in 1991 after spending three years, seven months and sixteen days in prison, following an international outcry against his incarceration. His books include The Last of the Sweet Bananas: New & Selected Poems (2004), Beasts of Nalunga (2007) and Greetings from Grandpa (2016) from Bloodaxe, and the prison memoir, And Crocodiles Are Hungry at Night (Ayebia Clarke Publishing, 2011). He lives in exile in York with his family, and is a visiting professor in the faculty of art at York St John University.
Crown Street Library, Crown Street, Darlington, DL1 1ND
Wednesday 5 April, 12.30pm, (Exploring Poetry), followed by reading at 1.30pm
Hull Central Library, Albion Street, Hull, HU1 3TF
Wednesday 19 April, 6.30pm (Exploring Poetry), followed by reading at 7.30pm
Kendal Library, Stricklandgate, Kendal, LA9 4PY
Friday 16 June, 2pm (Exploring Poetry) followed by reading at 3pm
Advance booking is advisable and all events may be subject to change. See our individual event listings for further information.