Charis welcomes Gothataone Moeng in conversation with Lydia Conklin for a celebration of Call and Response: Stories. Richly drawn stories about the lives of ordinary families in contemporary Botswana as they navigate relationships, tradition and caretaking in a rapidly changing world.
A young widow adheres to the expectations of wearing mourning clothes for nearly a year, though she's unsure what the traditions mean or whether she is ready to meet the world without their protection. An older sister returns home from a confusing time in America, only to explain at every turn why she’s left the land of opportunity. A younger sister hides her sexual exploits from her family, while her older brother openly flaunts his infidelity.
The stories collected in Call and Response are strongly anchored in place - in the village of Serowe, where the author is from, and in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana – charting the emotional journeys of women seeking love and opportunity beyond the barriers of custom and circumstance.
Gothataone Moeng is part of a new generation of writers coming out of Africa whose voices are ready to explode onto the literary scene. In the tradition of writers like Chimamanda Adiche and Jhumpa Lahiri, she offers us insight into communities, experiences and landscapes through stories that are cinematic in their sweep, with unforgettable female protagonists.
Gothataone Moeng was born in Serowe, Botswana. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction, a Summer Workshop scholar at Tin House, and an Emerging Writer Fellow at A Public Space. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, One Story, Virginia Quarterly Review, A Public Space, Ploughshares and Oxford American. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Mississippi. She is currently at work on a novel.
Lydia Conklin has received a Stegner Fellowship, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, three Pushcart Prizes, a Creative Writing Fulbright in Poland, a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation, a Creative Writing Fellowship from Emory University, work-study and tuition scholarships from Bread Loaf, and fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, Djerassi, the James Merrill House, and elsewhere. Their fiction has appeared in McSweeney’s, American Short Fiction, The Paris Review, One Story, and VQR. They have drawn cartoons for The New Yorker and Narrative Magazine, and graphic fiction for The Believer, Lenny Letter, and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Last year they served as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Fiction at the University of Michigan and they are currently an Assistant Professor of Fiction at Vanderbilt University. Their story collection, Rainbow Rainbow, was published by Catapult in North America and Scribner in the UK.
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Richly drawn stories about the lives of ordinary families in contemporary Botswana as they navigate relationships, tradition and caretaking in a rapidly changing world.
Longlisted for The Story Prize & the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection
A fearless collection of stories that celebrate the humor, darkness, and depth of emotion of the queer and trans experience that's not typically represented: liminal or uncertain identities, queer conception, and queer joy