My New Monograph: Space and Trauma in the Writings of Aminatta Forna


In October 2016, Africa World Press will release my new monograph Space and Trauma in the Writings of Aminatta Forna. The book is a critical study of her four works; a memoir, The Devil That Danced on the Water, and three novels, Ancestor Stones, The Memory of Love, and The Hired Man.

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The book draws from spatiality and trauma theories to explore the intersections of space, trauma and identity in the context of post-civil war Sierra Leone and Croatia. I argue that the production of space, whether geographical, ideological, physical, mental or psychological, is linked to the construction of human subjectivities, and that the identity of characters emerges from the spaces they occupy as well as their relationships to those spaces. Hence, positionally is derived from the interplay between space and its geo-political antecedents of overlapping, criss-crossing, fusion, exclusion, inclusion, marginality, location/dis-location, and centering/ de-centring of the subject.


In Space and Trauma in the Writings of Aminatta Forna, I argue that the civil war in Sierra Leone is a product of the culture of violence and destruction that commenced with the colonization of Sierra Leone, the era of British colonialism, and the struggle for independence that eventually found expression in diverse contexts and situations: the APC regime of the late 60’s and 70’s of Siaka Stevens, the military intervention in politics, exploitation of the masses, corruption, and the decadence in political and governmental circles in the 80’s and 90’s.

Within this historical trajectory, the book makes the claim that Forna engages the legacies of colonialism, post-independence betrayal and disillusionment, political instability, violence, and repression that led to the implosion of the country in the rebel insurgencies of the 90’s and beyond.

Space and Trauma in the Writings of Aminatta Forna is priced at $34.95.

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