Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor: Across the Indian Ocean

‘In this dazzling novel you will find the entirety of human experience – tearshed, bloodshed, lust, love – in staggering proportions.’ So said Taiye Selasi about Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s debut novel Dust in 2015 – a book that heralded the arrival of a major international literary talent from Kenya. Now, Owuor’s second novel The Dragonfly Sea finally arrives in the UK, giving readers another chance to dive into her imagination – this time through the eyes of Ayaana, an exuberant but ethereal heroine who lives on an island off the coast of Kenya. With her partial Chinese ancestry, Ayaana is the fictional result of a real-life event: a 15th century Chinese shipwreck which left a number of Chinese people living on Africa’s east coast. Owuor’s novel is a magic realist marvel full of dragonflies and dreams, the ebb and flow of the ocean tides, and at the same time a worldly-wise exploration of human migration. In this event, filmed live at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, she discusses her richly complex book with Fiammetta Rocco.

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