Belonging to the Journey
9 9 2022
Belonging to the Journey

Yewande Omotose on big themes and unlikely interactions

Yewande Omotose; a woman who belongs to many places. That is the theme explored today in Mantua’s elegantly lush musical conservatory. Omotose was born in Barbados and grew up in Nigeria before living most of her life in Cape Town. She explains how she has a deep and peculiar connection to places, as many of the locations of her book draw from her own life experiences.

Omotose and her family moved to Cape Town before apartheid ended, a formative experience she explores through her books. Her imagination, she says, is politicised. She imbues her writing with her politics almost unconsciously, attempting to do so however with a light touch which doesn’t interfere with the art. Omotose also feels she utilises her education in architecture, saying that writing is her way of practising it.

Prompted by Italian writer and podcaster Nadeesha Uyangoda, she explores her two novels; The Woman Next Door and An Unusual Grief. Omotose delves into the formation of her characters. Her novels are dense with meaning and were difficult to manage. She tackles big issues and themes through the development of small-scale, daily interactions between characters. She lets her characters evolve into what they are meant to be without monopolising them with more arduous themes.

Responding to brilliant questions by Uyangoda, Omotose reveals her deep fascination with form, recently developed. She explains how she seeks to find the best form for her stories, feeling that it is an important mirror of the journeys, content and emotion of the characters. Omotose also reveals her affection for unlikely friendships, bringing her characters together just to see what happens when they meet. Her final comment to us is on how can we repair the damage done, how we heal and when is it too late. We should not be sentimental, but use instead “radical hope”. We must heal, what other option is there?

Il sito è stato realizzato nell’ambito del progetto Open Festival con il contributo di
INNOVACULTURA - Regione Lombardia, Camere di Commercio Lombarde e Fondazione Cariplo