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Simone Atangana Bekono at West Cork Literature Festival

Simone Atangana Bekono at West Cork Literature Festival

Sulaiman Addonia is an award-winning, highly acclaimed author Eritrean-Ethiopian-British who now lives in Brussels. His personal story as a child refugee underlies all of his writing, offering a vital and eye-opening perspective on the experiences of refugess and asylum-seekers. His new novel The Seers includes an exploration of the sexual life of refugees, bringing great depth and humanity to its narrator's story, offering an entirely new, and deeply empowering, perspective.

Confrontations by Simone Atangana Bekono is a bold, unsettling, and heart-breaking novel about race, belonging and the legacies of violence. Raw and unsentimental, it is a powerful depiction of racism and resilience from one of the Netherlands’ most exciting new literary voices. Simone is best known as a poet and this is her debut novel.

We are delighted to welcome Sulaiman and Simone to West Cork thanks to Flanders Literature and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

The Seers by Sulaiman Addonia follows the first weeks of a homeless Eritrean refugee in London. Set around a foster home in Kilburn and in the squares of Bloomsbury, where its protagonist Hannah sleeps, the novel grapples with how agency is given to the sexual lives of refugees, presenting gender-fluid, trans and androgynous African immigrants, and insisting that the erotic and intimate side of life is as much a part of someone’s story as ‘land and nations’ are. Hannah arrives in London with her mother’s diary, containing a disturbing sexual story taking place in Keren, Eritrea, where the Allies defeated the Italians in the Second World War. In a gripping, continuous paragraph, The Seers moves between the present day and the past to explore intergenerational histories, colonial trauma, and the realities of the UK asylum system and its impact on young refugees.


In Simone Atangana Bekono’s Confrontations Salomé was bullied for years and no one did a single thing to help her. One day she finally snapped. Now at just sixteen years old, she’s being held in a secure unit for young offenders. Salomé loves reading, mythology and riding her bicycle, but in the unit everyone’s focus is on crime and penitence. She finds it hard to keep her temper and harder still to think about the past. Her counsellor, the man whose good opinion is key to her release, is best known for his racist gaffes on reality TV. Her father has recently been diagnosed with liver cancer and her elder sister Miriam’s main preoccupation is to get out of their small, close-minded village as soon as possible. Both at home and in the unit, things are unbearably tense. But as time passes, Salomé finds new strength to delve into the reasons for her rage and arrive at her own understanding of punishment, responsibility and the paradoxical demands made on her existence as a Black woman in Europe.

Sulaiman Addonia’s attendance at West Cork Literary Festival is supported by Flanders Literature as part of their Flip Through Flanders programme

Simone Atangana Bekono’s attendance at West Cork Literary Festival is supported by the Dutch Foundation for Literature/Nederlands Letterenfonds as part of their New Dutch Writing programme

Sulaiman Addonia & Simone Atangana Bekono - West Cork Music



18 Jul