Marlborough Literature Festival 2018 Events
27 – 30 September
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Aida Edemariam – The Wife’s Tale
September 30, 2018 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm£10.00
What is biography? When two accounts of a life differ, whose do you believe? Should – or even can – the narrator remove themselves from the narrative? Can it ever be more than ‘a stab at truth’?
These were some of the questions Aida Edemariam considered in an article she wrote in The Guardian, for whom she works as a feature writer and editor. The catalyst for the piece was The Wife’s Tale, her biography of her grandmother, Yetemegnu, who was born in the northern Ethiopian city of Gondar and died five years ago aged nearly 100.
Having spent years talking to her grandmother, it is only when Edemariam immersed herself in the landscape of Yetemegnu’s life that she truly began to understand her: “I got on a horse and followed
a path she used to ride on muleback into the mountains. Feeling my lungs fill with mountain air, the horse picking its way around crevasses left by rainy season storms, watching the lammergeiers wheel through blue sky, it seemed to me that I had learned more in one long morning than I had in days of visiting the British Library.”