Exiled Writers


Writers exiled from their country of origin have a unique relationship to language, freedom and oppression. The context of a homeland functions simultaneously a point of inspiration for the writer and guidance for readers, and so writing about home is a very delicate situation for the exile writer. Marjane Satrapi, author of the graphic novel, Persepolis, describes the experience:

“‘When the pain is too great we have to take it with humor or poetry because the reality is simply too awful […] Few people leave their country because they want to…I would go home if I could, […] It hasn’t always been easy…but you can’t go around moaning all the time. So first you have to bury half of yourself and then you learn to take pleasure in eating smelly Camembert and little by little you integrate. It has been long and painful…as time goes by I’m more and more convinced that this question of nationality is obsolete. I have a human identity.’”

(via @BookBench)

Sam Riley is an adult who works at McSweeney's. More from this author →