Interviews

Ask a Local: Dilman Dila, Kampala, Uganda

With DILMAN DILA

Wide shot of Kampala City; a tall building on the right side, cars on the road, a line of trees in the middle

Your name: Dilman Dila

Current city or town: Kampala, Uganda

How long have you lived here
: Since 2011

Three words to describe the climate:
Friendly, sunny, dusty

Best time of year to visit? All year. It can get wet in the rainy season, with flash floods, but that doesn’t normally last more than a few hours.


1. The most striking physical features of this city/town are . . .
The birds. Kampala is full of wetlands. My home is near one and I sometimes see ten different species in a day. There’s a species that thrives in the middle of the streets. The marabou stork, karoli, the garbage collector. In the past the city had poor waste management and this attracted the storks, but today they have fallen in love with the lampposts and tall buildings and won’t leave, though the council has tried to exterminate them.

Sunna JuhnAsk a Local: Dilman Dila, Kampala, Uganda
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The Thing That Would Unmake You: an Interview with Carmen Maria Machado

HILARY LEICHTER interviews CARMEN MARIA MACHADO 

Carmen Machado Headshot

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, the Kirkus Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and the winner of the Bard Fiction Prize and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been awarded numerous fellowships and residencies from organizations that include the Michener-Copernicus Foundation, the Yaddo Corporation, Hedgebrook, and the Millay Colony for the Arts. Her memoir, House in Indiana, is forthcoming in 2019 from Graywolf Press. Carmen Maria Machado will be at Amherst College on March 1st at 7:30 for a National Book Awards on Campus Conversation, which is a part of LitFest 2018.

This summer Hilary Leichter met with Machado at her home in Philadelphia, where Machado is the Writer in Residence at the University of Pennsylvania.

Julia PikeThe Thing That Would Unmake You: an Interview with Carmen Maria Machado
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Ask a Local: Ejiofor Ugwu, Nigeria

With EJIOFOR UGWU

Your name: Ejiọfọr Ugwu

City or Town: Nsukka, Nigeria

How long have you lived here: Eight years

Three words to describe the climate: early fall, harsh.

Best time to visit? Spring

  1. The most striking physical features of the city/ town are:

A first time visitor to Nsukka will notice an environment full of hills, with houses at the valleys and at the breasts of the hills. Then he moves closer to notice a usually crowded park where the people’s central market, Ogige, is located. Not long ago, the roads were really in bad shape but things have changed now. The new state governor gave the town a serious facelift in terms of road reconstruction and it has increased access to and from the town.

Emma CroweAsk a Local: Ejiofor Ugwu, Nigeria
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The Fault Lines of Home: an Interview with Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters

ERIN EHSANI interviews MARGOT KAHN and KELLY MCMASTERS

Margot Kahn

Kelly McMasters

Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters have each been described as landscape writers. Kahn mapped the American West in the biography Horses that Buck and McMasters’ memoir, Welcome to Shirley, grappled with a hometown that was as dangerous as it was idyllic. In subsequent work, both writers found themselves writing and thinking about the places harder to locate on a map and much harder still to define: home. Kahn and McMasters are the editors of the recently published This Is the Place: women writing about home, featuring essays by thirty women writers who explore the complex and messy business of making, being, and leaving—or sometimes escaping—home.

Emma CroweThe Fault Lines of Home: an Interview with Margot Kahn and Kelly McMasters
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Ask a Local: Madiha Sattar, Dubai

With MADIHA SATTAR

Juice menus at old-school Dubai cafes

Juice menus at old-school Dubai cafes

 

Your name: Madiha Sattar

Current city or town: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

How long have you lived here:
A year and nine months

Three words to describe the climate: Hot to scorching

Best time of year to visit? November through March. The temperature is in the 60s or 70s, sunbathing on the beach becomes possible and the city finally starts buzzing with outdoor dining and with arts and culture, including Art Dubai, Dubai Design Week and the Dubai International Film Festival.

Isabel MeyersAsk a Local: Madiha Sattar, Dubai
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Awkward Sex Scenes Are My Superpower: An Interview with Bethany Ball

DENNIS NORRIS II interviews BETHANY BALL

Bethany Ball headshot

This year, Bethany Ball’s debut novel What to Do About the Solomons took the literary world by storm, garnering a rave review from The New York Times and a short-listing for The Center For Fiction’s First Novel Prize. In What to Do About the Solomons, Ball writes a provocative, sexy, and darkly funny tale about a multigenerational family with origins in an Israeli kibbutz. She moves us between decades and continents, from lonely childhood to lonely adulthood to the home raid of an alleged money launderer. Perhaps all in a day in for this intricate family that moves simultaneously closer together and farther apart.

In this month’s interview, Dennis Norris II and Bethany Ball talk writing multigenerational families, awkward sex scenes, and more.   

Sunna JuhnAwkward Sex Scenes Are My Superpower: An Interview with Bethany Ball
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Some Voice Has Spoken: an interview with Kirun Kapur

ISABEL MEYERS interviews KIRUN KAPURkirun kapur headshotKirun Kapur is a poet, teacher, poetry editor at The Drum, and author of the collection Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. Kapur’s debut volume, which grapples with themes of borders, religion, and feminism, feels more relevant by the day since its release in 2015.

Last fall, Kapur taught at Amherst College. She recently spoke to former student Isabel Meyers about Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist; the intersection of personal and political history; girlhood; family as a sense of place; and trusting the poem’s voice.

Isabel MeyersSome Voice Has Spoken: an interview with Kirun Kapur
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Ask a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany

With ANZHELINA POLONSKAYA

Frankfurt city skyline along the River Main

Your name: Anzhelina Polonskaya

Current city or town: Frankfurt

How long have you lived here: 2 years

Three words to describe the climate: windy in winter

Best time of year to visit?: spring, summer


1) The most striking physical features of this city/town are
. . . The skylines and the River Main. Frankfurt was destroyed during the second war, and the skylines give a “fresh air” to the city. Of course, I cannot compare the city to New York or Chicago, but I think the modern architecture makes Frankfurt unique, if we are talking about Germany in general, and fits in general the composition of the city. Everything is around the River Main: holidays, boats, sports, cafes and walkways.

Sunna JuhnAsk a Local: Anzhelina Polonskaya, Frankfurt, Germany
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