A conversation with Imraan Coovadia and Daniel Herwitz.
Solly Greenfields, the first of the taxi poets, has been shot dead. At the Institute for Taxi Poetry, where they train young people to write poetry on the bodywork of Cape Town's taxis, Solly's protégé Adam Ravens tries to make sense of his death. Who killed Solly, and why is Adam's son acting so odd?
In the world of Imraan Coovadia's new tragicomic novel, taxi companies thrive in a single-party state. Taxi poets are admired, sliding-door men rule, professors and politicians strut and fret and connive in a society shaped by violence and ambition, love, and the unsettling power of the imagination.
Imraan Coovadia is a writer and literary historian at the University of Cape Town. His publications include Authority and Authorship in V.S. Naipaul and the novel High Low In-between, which won the University of Johannesburg prize and the Sunday Times Fiction Award. He writes regularly for newspapers, including the Mail and Guardian and the Sunday Independent. Although he was trained as a Victorianist, he has been more interested in contemporary fiction recently, particularly Nabokov, Naipaul, and Calvino, and has recently begun teaching a seminar on Philosophy and Literature, which ranges from Plato's Symposium to Quine's "Two Dogmas of Empiricism." About half of his work, and most of his advising, is in the creative writing programme.
Daniel Herwitz has been director of the Institute for the Humanities and Mary Fair Croushore Professor of the Humanities at the University since 2002. He also holds professorships in comparative literature, philosophy, and history of art, and is adjunct professor in screen arts and culture.
The Author's Forum is a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, & Ann Arbor Book Festival.
Additional sponsorship for this event provided the U-M MFA Program in Creative Writing, Department of Afroamerican & African Studies, and African Studies Center.