Migration and Belongings: Chika Unigwe reads a new story

Thu 25.03.2021
14:30 - 15:00
Chika unigwe koen broos


online event




choose your own digital price: ticket (one programme for € 5 | € 8 | € 10) - pass (all programmes for € 15 | € 20 | € 30)


in English, with subtitles in French and Dutch

From her home in Atlanta, Chika Unigwe will read ‘A Hand Across Her Back’, the wonderful story she wrote on commission for the Passa Porta Festival.

Belgian past

Chika Unigwe (b. 1974), an English-language Igbo writer of Nigerian descent, lived in Belgium for many years. She obtained her PhD at Leiden University, and made her debut in 2005 with the novel The Phoenix. She has received several literary awards, including the NLNG Prize for Literature for Fata Morgana.

“Cheta and Busonma were the only black people who lived there. Once a couple stopped them to tell them that their grandchild who was in high school was dating a rather lovely African-American girl. Fantastic girl. Beautiful girl. And where was their accent from? Nigeria? Oh! Awesome. They had a family friend whose son worked for a long time for the UN in Somalia. "Y’all have a lovely day.””
Chika Unigwe - A Hand Across Her Back


Passa Porta asked Unigwe to write a new story specially for the festival, and to read it from her home. ‘A Hand Across Her Back’ is a story about a young Nigerian woman, Busonma, and her lover, Cheta. After years of living in the United States, the couple feel increasingly detached from their homeland. When Cheta dies from the effects of a coronavirus infection, Busonma is overcome by guilt and starts thinking more deeply about what it means to have Nigerian roots.

picture chika unigwe © koen broos

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