Notes from the Middle World

Notes from the Middle World Cover

Notes from the Middle World

By Breyten Breytenbach

Haymarket Books, Paperback, 9781931859912, 214pp.

Publication Date: October 1, 2009


Praise for Breyten Breytenbach's "Return to Paradise"

"This wonderful book . . . is written with a wild heart and an unrelenting eye, and is fueled by the sort of rage that produces great literature." "The Washington Post"

What is the place of the artist and writer in a globalized world? In dialogue with the voices of the dead and the living Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama internationally distinguished South African artist, activist, and writer Breyten Breytenbach's new collection of essays traces the collisions between utopia and disaster, political trauma, and the renewal of hope. "Notes from the Middle World" is a beautiful and heartwrenching book. These essays include a glimpse of a buried language created in the Hunan province by and for women, an open letter to Nelson Mandela reflecting on the perilous state of post-apartheid South Africa, and existential and linguistic explorations. Against the conformity of power, Breytenbach takes readers on a journey through the "Middle World," an imagined space beyond borders and exile, toward an embracing vision of justice for the "un-citizens" post-modernity has dispossessed.

A native of South Africa, Breyten Breytenbach is a distinguished painter, activist, and prolific writer. His most recent writing has been published in "Harper's Magazine." From 1975 1982, he was a political prisoner serving solitary confinement in South African prisons. Today, Breytenbach is a Global Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at New York University.

About the Author
Breyten Breytenbach is a celebrated writer and painter. As a Sestiger he helped to broaden the horizons of the Afrikaans literary landscape. In 1975 he was sentenced to nine years imprison-ment under the Terrorism Act, two of which were spent in isolation in Maximum Security Prison in Pretoria. He was released after seven-and-a-half years and he became a French citizen. In 1992 he co-founded the Goree Institute, a pan-African centre for the promotion of democracy, development and culture in Africa, based on Goree Island in Senegal. His books, which include Die ysterkoei moet sweet, A Season in Paradise, The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist and A Veil of Footsteps, have won awards in South Africa, France, Holland, Italy and Palestine. He has lectured in creative writing at several universities, notably as Distin-guished Global Professor at New York University. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates (from the universities of the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Ghent), and is a Commandeur des Arts et Lettres and Chevalier de la Legion d Honneur. He is married to Yolande Ngo Thi Hoang Lien.