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Igiaba Scego in person at Mt Holyoke College

Join us in person on Friday, November 4 at 7 PM as Igiaba Scego talks about her new book, The Color Line. She will be in conversation with Ombretta Frau, the Dorothy Rooke McCulloch Professor of Italian at Mount Holyoke College. This event will take place in the Stimson Room, Mount Holyoke Library, 6th floor.

This event is co-sponsored by the Mount Holyoke College Department of Classics and Italian and the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives.

About the Book

Inspired by true events, this gorgeous, haunting novel intertwines the lives of two Black female artists more than a century apart, both outsiders in Italy.

It was the middle of the nineteenth century when Lafanu Brown audaciously decided to become an artist. In the wake of the American Civil War, life was especially tough for Black women, but she didn’t let that stop her. The daughter of a Native American woman and an African-Haitian man, Lafanu had the rare opportunity to study, travel, and follow her dreams, thanks to her indomitable spirit, but not without facing intolerance and violence. Now, in 1887, living in Rome as one of the city’s most established painters, she is ready to tell her fiancé about her difficult life, which began in a poor family forty years earlier.

 In 2019, an Italian art curator of Somali origin is desperately trying to bring to Europe her younger cousin, who is only sixteen and has already tried to reach Italy on a long, treacherous journey. While organizing an art exhibition that will combine the paintings of Lafanu Brown with the artworks of young migrants, the curator becomes more and more obsessed with the life and secrets of the nineteenth-century painter.

Weaving together these two vibrant voices, Igiaba Scego has crafted a powerful exploration of what it means to be “other,” to be a woman, and particularly a Black woman, in a foreign country, yesterday and today.

About Igiaba Scego

Igiaba Scego was born in Rome in 1974 to a family of Somali ancestry. She holds a PhD in education on postcolonial subjects and has done extensive academic work in Italy and around the world. Her memoir La mia casa è dove sono won Italy’s prestigious Mondello Prize. She is a frequent contributor to the magazine Internazionale and to Il Venerdì di Repubblica, a supplement to La Repubblica.

About Ombretta Frau

Ombretta Frau is the Dorothy Rooke McCulloch Professor of Italian at Mount Holyoke College. Her scholarly interests include nineteenth and early twentieth-century Italian public intellectuals, and the material culture of literature. She has published extensively on Luigi Pirandello, Jolanda, Mantea, Sfinge, Mara Antelling, Annie Vivanti, Flavia Steno, Matilde Serao, Dacia Maraini, Aldo Palazzeschi, Vincenzo Cerami, motherhood, the connection between language, gender and violence on the internet, and the relationship between Italian fascism and culture. Her most recent publications include articles on the Giamatti Dante Collection at Mount Holyoke and on Matilde Serao’s unpublished correspondence.  Frau is the recipient of the 2022 Meribeth E. Cameron Faculty Award for Scholarship at Mount Holyoke.


To register, please click here

Event date: 
Friday, November 4, 2022 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
9 College St
South Hadley, MA 01075
The Color Line: A Novel By Igiaba Scego, John Cullen (Translated by), Gregory Conti (Translated by) Cover Image
By Igiaba Scego, John Cullen (Translated by), Gregory Conti (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781635420869
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Other Press - October 4th, 2022

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