Young Literature: Resilience and the Climate Crisis
With Osahon Ize-Iyamus/ Nigeria/ London/ US, Chinelo Onwualu/ Nigeria/ Canada (online)
Moderation: Simon Probst/ Berlin
Languages: English, German
A climate crisis culture on the margins shows itself to us with Nigerian Afrospeculative literature.
Chinelo Onwualu's narrative “The Lamentations of a Veteran of the Sand Wars” is set in a future in which the climate crisis is contained, but Nigeria continues to suffer from a quasi-colonialist exploitation of its natural resources — indeed, the raw materials for the production of solar panels and wind turbines have to come from somewhere. But it also tells a story of local resistance — assisted by supernatural forces — against the mafia-like structures of this exploitation.
Osahon Ize-Iyamu's post-catastrophic short story “More Sea than Tar” describes a boat trip taken by a father and son through the flooded environs of Lagos, the capital of Nigeria. The story can be read as a dystopian vision of the future, but also as a coming to terms with the many severe floods Lagos, where Ize-Iyamu grew up, has experienced in recent years.
Onwualu's story is more political, Ize-Iyamu's more personal, but both are united by a preoccupation with the climate crisis that emanates from Nigeria: literary counterviews to the dominant, seemingly universal climate crisis culture of the Global North.
On the Podium
Osahon Ize-Iyamu is a Nigerian writer of experimental fiction. He is a graduate of the Alpha Young Writers Workshop and has been published in science fiction magazines like “Clarkesworld”, “Reckoning”, and “Strange Horizons”. He is passionate about sustainable development, and his work often explores the impact of colonisation and environmental degradation in Southern Nigeria. His climate fiction story “more sea than tar” has been used to O Level secondary students and has also been the subject of research in a scholarly article.
• 2019 More Sea than Tar
↗Osahon Ize-Iyamu on twitter
Chinelo Onwualu is a Nigerian speculative fiction storyteller interested in all the ways identity and culture intersect to tell us who we are - and who we may be, if we choose. Her stories explore themes of climate hope and decolonial utopias and have been featured in several anthologies including the award-winning “New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction from People of Colour”, and 2021's “Best of World SF Vol.1.” She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her partner and child, and she's always happy to pet your dog.
• 2021 The Lamentations of a Veteran of the Sand Wars