Book Talk | Fisherman’s Blues: A West African Community at Sea
NYU’s Institute for Public Knowledge invites you to a talk with Anna Badkhen and Garnette Cadogan on the occasion of the release of Badkhen’s new work Fisherman’s Blues: A West African Community at Sea, out now from Riverhead Books.
ABOUT FISHERMAN’S BLUES
For centuries, fishermen have launched their pirogues from the Senegalese port of Joal, where the fish used to be so plentiful a man could dip his hand into the grey-green ocean and pull one out as big as his thigh. But in an Atlantic decimated by overfishing and climate change, the fish are harder and harder to find.
Here, Badkhen discovers, all boundaries are permeable–between land and sea, between myth and truth, even between storyteller and story. Fisherman’s Blues immerses us in a community navigating a time of unprecedented environmental, economic, and cultural upheaval with resilience, ingenuity, and wonder. It provides us an intimate account of life in a West African fishing village, tugged by currents ancient and modern, and dependent on an ocean that is being radically transformed.
The sea is broken, fishermen say. The sea is empty. The genii have taken the fish elsewhere.
Anna Badkhen writes about people in extremis. Her immersive investigations of the world’s iniquities have yielded six books of nonfiction, most recently The World Is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village and Walking with Abel: Journeys with the Nomads of the African Savannah. Badkhen contributes to The New York Times, Granta, The New Republic, and Foreign Policy. Her wartime journalism won the 2007 Joel R. Seldin Award for reporting on civilians in war zones.
Garnette Cadogan is an essayist whose research explores the promise and perils of urban life, the vitality and inequality of cities, and the challenges of pluralism. Named by the literary magazine Freeman’s as one of 29 writers from around the world who “represent the future of new writing” in 2017, he writes about culture and the arts for various publications. He is a Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Scholar (2017-2018) at MIT, a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University, and a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. The editor-at-large of Non-Stop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (co-edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro), he is at work on a book on walking.