Kei Miller: Silence is Violence

A few years ago, when asked what he sees when he looks at a map, Kei Miller answered ‘I see the things that aren’t there... maps are always interesting to me for what’s left out…’. These gaps and omissions were a key part of the celebrated poet and novelist’s Forward Prize-winning collection, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. Now he has collected together a series of essays, Things I Have Withheld, which examine the ways power can create silences, blind spots and cause stories to remain untold. Miller believes that mapping is basically a metaphor for language: his writing seems to stand in the silences, to fill in the gaps. In his new book, the essays include letters to James Baldwin and encounters with Liam Neeson, as well as pieces written while on the road as part of the Book Festival’s Outriders Africa venture, just before the pandemic hit. Join Miller as he talks to poet and artist Ryan Van Winkle for a fascinating look at how the seemingly unsayable can often leave space for everyday acts of racism and prejudice.

This event was filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival. The author took part remotely and the interviewer was on stage, in the venue.

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