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The International Library

The International Library: Global Indigenous Stories

Wednesday, 4:00 pm EST February 7, 2024

The Center for Fiction
& Livestreamed

With their innovative new novels, Linnea Axelsson and Alexis Wright explore the legacy of colonialism across the globe. Axelsson’s Ædnan, translated by Saskia Vogel, is a multigenerational novel-in-verse about two Sámi families and their quest to stay together across a century of migration, violence, and colonial trauma. Weaving together the voices of half a dozen characters, Ædnan is a powerful reminder of how durable language can be, even when it is borrowed, especially when it has to hold what no longer remains. Wright’s Praiseworthy is a phantasmagorical epic following one family contending with interconnected crises amidst a mysterious cloud encroaching on their Northern Australian town, heralding both an ecological catastrophe and a gathering of the ancestors.

A cry of outrage against oppression and disadvantage and a fable for the end of days, Praiseworthy pushes allegory and language to its limit. Pulitzer finalist Tommy Orange (There There) will moderate a conversation between Axelsson, Wright, and Vogel about their novels; the past, present, and future of indigeneity and colonialism; and writing across time, place, and form.

This is a livestreamed event with an in-person audience at The Center for Fiction. Axelsson, Vogel, and Orange will be hosted by the Center for the Art of Translation at The Center for Architecture + Design, 140 Sutter St., San Francisco (1pm PT) with Wright joining remotely.


About The International Library

This event is part of The International Library, a series launched in collaboration with the American Library in Paris, the Center for the Art of Translation, and The London Library, which offers conversations across time, place, and language. The International Library celebrates the live diffusion of in-person conversations in the hope of connecting new audiences across land and sea for a collective, intercultural experience. These conversations will broach deeper questions about writing and translation as we learn to think critically about how stories are told, investigating the points of view, the timing of the translations, and the intended or assumed audiences as well as inspiration, philosophy, and craft.

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In Conversation

  • Linnea Axelsson Author Photo Credit to Daniel Pedersen[8][1][5][1]

    Linnea Axelsson

    Linnea Axelsson

    Linnea Axelsson is a Sámi-Swedish writer, born in the province of North Bothnia in Sweden. In 2018, she was awarded the August Prize for this book. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden. Linnea’s US tour is being implemented with the assistance of a grant from the Swedish Arts Council.


    Photo Credit: Daniel Pedersen

  • Saskia Vogel Author Photo 3 Credit to Fette Sans

    Saskia Vogel

    Saskia Vogel

    Saskia Vogel is an author and translator from Los Angeles, now living in Berlin. She was awarded the Berlin Senate grant for non-German literature and two English PEN Translates Awards and was a PEN America Translation Prize finalist. She is Princeton University’s Fall 2022 Translator in Residence.


    Photo Credit: Fette Sans

  • Wright_Alexis_Darren_James

    Alexis Wright

    Alexis Wright

    Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria, The Swan Book, and Praiseworthy. Wright has published three works of nonfiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader Tracker Tilmouth. Her work has been translated into Chinese, Polish, French, and Italian. She held the position of Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne between 2017–2022. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).


    Photo Credit: Darren James

  • Tommy Orange Author Photo © Elena Seibert[5]

    Tommy Orange

    Tommy Orange

    Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California. His first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award. He lives in Oakland, CA.


    Photo Credit: Elena Seibert

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