Event to take place April 13, 7pm. Event to be held at Sharp Chapel on TU’s campus.
Last spring, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities hosted several meetings with the OCH board, select professors and staff, and a group of TU students. The goal was to decide on our university’s inaugural Common Read, a book for incoming freshmen to read before arriving on campus. The Common Read is intended to serve as an intellectual touchstone around which orientation activities could be structured and even some classes.
What emerged from those discussions was Mohsin Hamid’s book, Exit West, chosen for its universality and timelessness as a story of love and loss, and its immediate relevance to migrant and refugee crises across the world. It relates well the OCH theme for this year, Freedom, as it captures our new global environment, one defined by incredible technological availability yet also incredible limitations on our freedom. It’s a beautiful, poetically crafted story with moving explorations of the characters’ humanity. From page to page, sentence to sentence, Hamid infuses the work with thought-provoking and emotionally powerful passages. According to Sean Latham, director of the OCH and TU professor of English, Exit West is “an extraordinary work of creativity that dares us to imagine a new world without ever losing sight of the irreducible yet vital differences that define our human condition.”
The narrative follows the lives of Nadia and Saeed, two college students who, after falling in love, are forced to flee their middle eastern home as it is invaded and destroyed by militant forces. The two are able to flee with the help of “doors,” magical portals that instantly transport them to various parts of the world—first a refugee encampment in Greece, then a migrant rehousing ghetto in Britain, and finally the Bay Area in California. As Nadia and Saeed’s travels unfold, we witness the uncertain, displaced lives of two refugees who are separated from their families and homelands and forced to make a home elsewhere. It is a story about a global, interconnected world; it is a story about the idea of home and relationships with loved ones; and it is a story about survival in the face of incredible danger.
The Oklahoma Center for the Humanities is thrilled to host Mohsin Hamid for a discussion of his fiction and more. Hamid will give a keynote address followed by a moderated Q&A. Join us for what promises to be a fascinating evening!
Mohsin Hamid is a British novelist who grew up in Pakistan then moved to the United States. Here he attended Princeton University, earning a degree in international affairs while studying with renowned novelists Toni Morrison and Joyce Carol Oates. After graduating from Harvard Law, he began a successful career as an international business consultant while crafting a string of critically acclaimed novels. Foreign Policy magazine named him one of the “100 Leading Global Thinkers,” and his novels have won or been shortlisted for dozens of awards. His unique background in law, literature, business, and government policy establishes him as a dynamic multidisciplinary artist and thinker.