City Tech’s Annual Literary Arts Festival features acclaimed novelist

Brooklyn BookBeat

March 18, 2015 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dinaw Mengestu, esteemed author of “All Our Names,” will be featured at City Tech’s Annual Literary Arts Festival on March 26. Photo: © Mathieu Zazzo
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New York City College of Technology (City Tech’s) 34th Annual Literary Arts Festival will take place on March 26, at the college’s Voorhees Theater, 186 Jay St., at 5:30 p.m.  The event, which is free and open to the public, will feature acclaimed writer Dinaw Mengestu as well as student readings and musical performances.

Dinaw Mengestu is an Ethiopian-American writer whose works include “The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears” (2007), “Children of the Revolution” (2008) and “How to Read the Air” (2010).

In his latest novel, “All Our Names” (2014), Mengestu tells the captivating story of two star-crossed lovers during an African revolution in the 1970s.  

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Through his writing, Mengestu reminds us that because our names are interchangeable, it’s the relationships we foster that define us. The African Diaspora led to the demise of many citizens; the few who were lucky had to refashion new lives. Throughout his novels, there is a profound sense of nostalgia for home, identity, longing and love.

When asked what fuels his inspiration, Mengestu says, “It’s less about inspiration, writing is a sort of the way I filter the world. If I am not writing, then I think I am less engaged with my own personal life, I’m less engaged with my day-to-day existence. So writing isn’t a matter of inspiration, but a sort of breathing. You write because you are alive, and you live partly because you are writing.”

Mengestu’s fiction and journalism have been published in The New Yorker, Granta, Harper’s and The Wall Street Journal. Mengestu is the recipient of The New York Times’ Notable Book Award (2007), The Guardian’s First Book Award (2007), The Los Angeles Times’ Book Prize (2008), The New Yorker‘s “20 Under 40” Fiction Distinction (2010) and a MacArthur Fellowship (2012), among other accolades. He holds the Lannan Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University, where he teaches creative writing. He and his family reside in New York.

City Tech, which is part of the City University of New York, is the largest four-year public college of technology in the Northeast. It has an enrollment of more than 17,000 students in 24 baccalaureate and 27 associate degree programs. For more information, visit   

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