Day 2: Any Good Art Transforms You: Jackie Kay in Conversation

Jackie Kay reading from her memoir `Red Dust Road’Published in 2010 by Picador

Jackie Kay takes you on a journey as she reads an excerpt from her memoir ‘Red Dust Road.’ Published in 2010 by Picador .You are transported to a hotel room in Nigeria and her born-again father is trying to convince her to accept Christ as her saviour. You feel like you are really in the room with her because she reads with a realistic Nigerian accent and even jumps around to imitate him as he gets carried away in his passion for Christ. Jackie has traveled to meet her birth father for the first time. Having been adopted as a baby, she is trying to trace her family tree and ironically, a Google search of his name informs her that he is a botanist. Unfortunately ,their relationship doesn’t grow in the way that she hopes because he feels she should remain a secret. She however manages to meet her half-brother from Nigeria and develops a rapport with him, so not all is lost.

Jackie Kay reading from her book`Red Dust Road’ 
Jackie Kay (left) was in conversation with Dr.Susan Nalugwa Kiguli (right)

Jackie Kay is the Scottish National Poet Laureate and was in Kampala for the first time as the guest speaker  for the fourth edition of the Uganda International Writers Conference. She was interviewed by Dr. Susan Nalugwa Kiguli in a conversation-style presentation that also allowed the audience to take part. Under the conference theme: The Right to Write: Self, Identity and the Contextualisation of Africa, they discuss being a self-identified black, lesbian poet in Scotland; writing and humor as a process for dealing with tragedy; and language. Using her story as an example, she said that although she found it extremely upsetting when her birth father decided to keep her a secret, she later found the humor in that and translated it into a story that would entertain instead of feeling self-pity. This leaves space for other people to come in. She believes that people who laugh live longer. This however does not mean that those who laugh are not fragile.


Director of British Council,Fiona Inci (left) during Jackie Kay`s session

Jackie Kay ended her session with a reading from her memoir `Red Dust Road’
Book signing by Jackie Kay

Jackie Kay(left) chatting with Dr.Susan Nalugwa Kiguli(centre) and a delegate


Photo courtesy : Wrist House Uganda

Share Button

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *