The closest exit may be behind you
Posted: 24 Feb 2012
The British-Libyan author Hisham Matar describes to a packed audience at Wolfson College the 'existential crisis' at the heart of contemporary Libyan national identity. The talk is introduced by Hermione Lee. The British-Libyan author Hisham Matar marked the first publication of his work in his home country by describing to a packed audience at Wolfson College the 'existential crisis' at the heart of contemporary Libyan national identity, and the corresponding existential exile embedded in the life of the writer. The lecture for the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing (OCLW) at Wolfson was introduced by OCLW Director and College President Hermione Lee, who recounted the thrill of discovering Matar's work while judging the 2006 ManBooker Prize, for which his debut novel In the Country of Men was shortlisted. The book was set in Gadaffi's Libya of 1979, and brought Matar literary acclaim and international prominence, leaving the novelist with the difficult task, Professor Lee observed, of negotiating the responsibility of the artist to the claims of world history.