“The work of anti-racism feels like shadow boxing, like fighting ghosts. It’s a quest to change hearts and minds. It feels like an insurmountable task,” said Reni Eddo-Lodge, on Thursday March 29th, during the opening night of the Passaporta Literary Festival 2019.
Each person in the audience was given a copy of the letter that Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote to her readers. “Each time I’ve spotted a person reading my book on public transport, or tagging it on social media, my discontent has been eased. There’s a real possibility that all I have done is pass on that sense of urgency and responsibility.”
In front of a crowded no room —sold out days in advance— Eddo-Lodge was interviewed by Brussels-based African American writer and thinker, Dorrie Wilson.
Eddo-Lodge described how structural racism can be found in other domains, though it goes very often unacknowledged. “People from the South have raised the issue of climate change for years but it is only now, when people in the North start to see the real consequences that any urgency is been felt. All of that is touched on the book.”
For the British author, social media these days can often become too difficult to navigate. “Very quickly I learned that the priorities of the social media world are not necessarily the priorities of the real world.”
For her book, a lot of the research she used, is not available on the internet. “If we start conversations based on the information available only on the internet, we are limiting ourselves.”
She also spoke about her struggles, the sacrifices she had make before being able to make a living as a writer. “Even while writing the book I couldn’t afford to put the heating on.” One of the things she has learned, is that she has to prioritize her writing, even if that means disappointing people. “A lot of activists reach out but as much I want to support them, I need to protect my time. That is the only way I can create.”
Hosting than 100 Belgian and international authors, the Passaporta Festival will go on until Sunday March 31st in different parts of Brussels. Don’t miss it.