We’ve been going to Crossing Border for several years now and always enjoyed ourselves immensely! This year the festival will be on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of November and there are so many great authors coming, you probably don’t know which ones to see. To help you out, we created our mission guide with the authors we’re most excited about seeing. Be sure to get your tickets in time and maybe we’ll meet you there!
There are a lot of duo interviews at Crossing Border this year, making it less hard to choose who to see. Our first recommendation is Lesley Nneka Aarimah, author of the short story collection What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky. It’s a debut collection, but already gets compared to Helen Oyeyemi and I’ve read somewhere that it was the best short story collection of 2017, but I can’t find the source anymore. However, if you like magical realism, this is one you can’t miss. Lesley Nneka Aarimah will be sharing the stage with Belgium author Annelies Verbeke.
Omar Hamilton is a movie maker as well as an author. The Egyptian artist wrote the novel The City Always Wins, which tells the story of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011. It’s based on his own experiences. His cousin was captured and sentenced for illegal protesting, and the main character in his book does anything in his power to continue the protests. Omar Hamilton will be interviews with Iraqi writer Ali Bader.
English writer Claire-Louise Bennet wrote the much-lauded novel Pond, a book that is more about atmosphere than it is about story. In her writing, she wants to capture life, not produce it. Claire-Louise Bennet will be sharing the stage with two other Dutch writers, Persis Bekkering and Hanna Bervoets, who were also very excited to see.
Masande Ntshanga is a young writer from South-Afrika whose debut novel The Reactive uses HIV as a metaphor to showcase the political and social problems in his country. Not a small feat for a debut novel. He’ll be on stage on his own on Friday, but will share the stage with Dutch poet Lieke Marsman on Saturday, just in case you want to see him twice.
You must have heard the term mansplaining. Well, Rebecca Solnit is the one who introduced it into our modern day vocabulary with her essays Men Explain Things to Me. She’s an activist and one of the biggest names in feminism today. There’s a special sign in for Rebecca Solnit because they’re expecting this to be very busy. Make sure you sign up for her interview with Persis Bekkering.
Another big literary star in Max Porter. The British author just won the European Literature Prize (which will be awarded to him on Friday at Crossing Border) for the novella Grief is the Thing with Feathers. It’s a very powerful story of a young family that loses the mother, written in magical prose that will have you confused and emotional in no time. He’ll be sharing the stage with Mike McCormack.
Margo Jefferson is the second author that you need to sign up for if you want to see her. No wonder, because the professor and author won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her book Negroland. She writes about race in America, and in her memoir, she shares what it was like to grow up in the elite of the black community in Chicago. Her writing is honest, daring and a must for anyone interested in learning about modern-day racial issues. She’ll be interviewed by Liesbeth Staats.
Sharing the stage with Max Porter, Mike McCormack is another experimental author. He’s from Ireland and has been writing books for over twenty years. His latest work, Solar Bones, is written as one long sentence. Now, that might not sound appealing, but all the reviews say that the book is highly readable and very good. It’s also nominated for the Man Booker Prize, so maybe that will convince you to give it a try. The duo-interview will be done by Jasper Henderson.
I’m excited to see Sally Rooney, not just because of her novel Conversations with Friends, but also because of her brief career as a university debater. Her novel is about two friends who perform spoken-word poetry together. One of them gets drawn into the orbit of a strange older couple and their lives start to unravel. Sally Rooney shares the stage with Dutch writer Franca Treur.
And finally, we’ll mention Ross Raisin, a British author that wrote a novel about football. And before you click away because sports novels aren’t really your thing, A Natural is about a soccer player who tries to ignore the fact that he is gay. The book delves into the macho world of sports and the unacceptance of gay players. He’ll be interviewed by Menno Pot.
These are just some of the author’s we’re interested in seeing, but Crossing Border has much more to offer. Take a look at the entire program here and let us know in the comments what other authors and musicians we should check out!