Talks & Topics
Talks & debates

Home is Elsewhere

Part of World on the Brink

Meet bright talents from across the Nordic region and beyond who are expanding our understanding of the place we call home.

When do we know we are home? In our interconnected times, is home a physical place, a state of mind, or a memory? What does it mean to be caught between more than one home? And what if our physical home is a prison we want to escape?

Jonas Hassen Khemiri (Sweden), Pajtim Statovci (Finland) and Kamila Shamsie seek to answer these questions in this talk.

Chaired by Boyd Tonkin, a writer and critic who chaired the Man Booker International Prize 2016 and is now Special Adviser to the prize.

Jonas Hassen Khemiri is one of the most distinctive authors to emerge from Sweden in recent times. Growing up in a multilingual family surrounded by Arabic, French, Swedish, Khemiri’s work often explores the perspectives of those who feel on the margins of contemporary Nordic life. Since his debut in Sweden, Khermiri’s witty and imaginative prose has seen him reach beyond a traditional literary readership, while simultaneously winning critical acclaim and awards, including the prestigious PO Enquist Literary Prize, Borås Tidning Award for Best Literary Debut Novel. He was also nominated for the August Award, the highest literary prize in Sweden.

His most recently translated novel Everything I Don’t Remember, was selected by Joyce Carol Oates as a 2016 Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year, and follows a narrator as he pieces together the mysterious details of a young man’s death, tracing . Khemiri addresses the questions of how literature can shine a light on the problems of the present.

Pajtim Statovci moved from Kosovo to Finland with his family when he was two-years-old. His debut novel, My Cat Yugoslavia, relates in sensitive and finely tuned prose the inner conflict and questions about one’s identity that immigration, homosexuality, and the past might stir. The novel, published in 2014, received widespread acclaim among critics and readers alike, and Statovci won the Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for Best Debut. At present, Pajtim Statovci studies comparative literature at the University of Helsinki, and screenwriting at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels: In the City by the Sea; Kartography (both shortlisted for the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize); Salt and Saffron; Broken Verses; Burnt Shadows (shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction); A God in Every Stone (shortlisted for the Baileys Prize, the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction and the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature); and most recently, Home Fire.

Three of her novels have received awards from Pakistan's Academy of Letters. Kamila Shamsie is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 2013 was named a Granta Best of Young British Novelist. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.

Part of Nordic Matters

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Royal Festival Hall
Level 5 Function Room, Green side, Royal Festival Hall


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This event is included in both the World on the Brink Saturday Pass and the World on the Brink Weekend Pass.