New PEN Beneficiary Stella Gaitano from Sudan is welcomed at City Hall | Kamen News at KamenWeb.de

Stella Gaitano (2nd from right), recipient of the Writers in Exile scholarship, succeeds writer Kholoud Charaf (2nd from left), who was previously a guest at Kamen. She is cared for by authors Bernhard Büscher (l.) and Heinrich Peuckmann (r.), In the town hall she has now been welcomed by mayor Elke Kappen (middle). Photo: Alex Grün for KamenWeb.de

by Alex Green

Came. Sudanese writer Stella Gaitano has arrived safely in her country of exile in Kamen and, as she says, feels comfortable and very welcome there. She is the newest member of the Writers in Exile program of the international writers association PEN.

Since its independence from British colonial power, Sudan has been a state ruled by repressive regimes. Freedom-loving people like Stella Gaitano have no laughing matter there – and certainly nothing to post that in any way criticizes the system. In her hometown, the Sudanese capital Khartoum, she left behind her three children, who are cared for by friends and relatives there – a great sacrifice, but the 43-year-old was able to complete a scholarship. at least one and a six months in Germany at the invitation of PEN Writer and pharmacist not to be missed. The fellow is the successor to Syrian author Kholoud Charaf, who was previously a guest at Kamen. She has published two collections of short stories, “Zouhor Zabila” and “The Return”, both translated into English. “The Return” was published in 2015 by Rafiki, the first independent publisher in South Sudan since 2011. Her 2018 debut novel, Eddo’s Souls, won a PEN Translates award in English in 2020. Gaitano writes extensively about women marginalized, fleeing or expelled from war zones, his fictional texts always being based on research in the communities described. She is a member of the Union of Sudanese Writers and participates in many international literary festivals and conferences. She is in charge of a library project in her hometown of Khartoum, because books are a rare commodity there, she reports.

In exile in Kamen, the Sudanese is accompanied by fellow writer and PEN member Bernhard Büscher. Kamen author and PEN General Secretary Heinrich Peuckmann got in touch. Language barriers were a particular challenge when she came to Germany, but the people of Kamen are there to help and advise and have already organized a German language course. After just two weeks, they’re like a second family to her, says Stella Gaitano. Mayor Elke Kappen officially welcomed the author to the town hall and had the pleasure of welcoming him to Kamen, a city, according to Kappen, which is “not a cosmopolitan city, but a literary city”, it is why the Sudanese woman is in good hands here. The list of well-known authors based there confirms this, including Heinrich Peuckmann, Dietrich Schulze-Marmeling, Raimon Weber, Gerd Puls and, for some time now, Bernhard Büscher. Various literary events are planned in the near future, in which Stella Gaitano will participate in readings of her writings – so Kamen literature lovers can be excited about the literary impressions of Northeast Africa.

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