Fiction Celebrates Common Humanity

Applied ICDEmre, M. (1 November 2018).  This library has new books by major authors, but they can’t be read until 2114. New York Times

The Future Library is a work of art that will take an astonishing 100 years to complete:

“In a small clearing in the forests of Nordmarka, one hour outside the city limits of Oslo [Norway], a thousand spruce trees are growing. They will grow for the next 96 years, until 2114, when they will be felled, pulped, pressed and dyed to serve as the paper supply for the Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s Future Library: an anthology of 100 previously unpublished books written by some of the 21st century’s most celebrated writers. There will be one book for every year the trees will have grown, each a donation from a writer chosen by the Future Library’s board of trustees — a gift from the literary gatekeepers of the present to the readers of the future.”

How is this relevant to intercultural dialogue?

“Turkish novelist Elif Shefak [who provided the fourth manuscript in the project]…describes writing a novel for the Future Library as ‘a secular act of faith’ in a world that seems to have gone mad, a world that violently accentuates the differences between people instead of celebrating their common humanity. ‘When you write a book,’ she says, ‘you have the faith that it will reach out to someone else, to someone who is different from you and it will connect us. That you will be able to transcend the boundaries of the self, that was given to you at birth, that you will be able to touch someone else’s reality.'”

Sharing an Exotic Meal as ICD

Guest Posts

Sharing an Exotic Meal as a Trigger of Intercultural Dialogue. Guest post by Mine Krause.

 

Elif Shafak’s novel The Bastard of Istanbul (Turkish title: Baba ve Piç) tells the captivating story of a Turkish and an American-Armenian-Turkish patchwork family, both female dominated. Coming from very different cultural backgrounds, the characters’ mentalities often seem incompatible. The religious Banu lives under the same roof as her atheist sister Zeliha and their Kemalist mother Gülsüm… and yet they somehow get along and even love each other in this household full of contradictory world views. The serious issues dealt with in this novel are numerous: the role of collective amnesia and individual memory, patriarchy and women’s rights, incest, identity. Among these topics is also the relationship between food experiences and intercultural dialogue.

It might seem trivial but eating habits tell us a lot about other cultures and identities. After all, “we are what we eat,” as the slogan says. When it comes to the search for identity, the universal language of food can indeed play an essential part.

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