Archivio Aperto 16th edition

Poetry, Diaries, Novels – Talk with Jamaica Kincaid

Poetry, Diaries, Novels – Talk with Jamaica Kincaid

Curated by Francesca Maffioli and Giulia Simi


This edition continues the section Poetry, diaries, novels. Family films and literature, which each year proposes a meeting with a writer who has focused more than others on the theme of words as an investigation into personal stories intertwined with collective history. The fragments of life thus compose the mosaic of history: past, present, future. In their research, the media of recording reality – photography, cinema – often flow underground: evoked, investigated, questioned.

This year’s invitation went to the Antigua-born American author Jamaica Kincaid, one of the most refined and powerful writers on the contemporary scene, whose novels nestle in the porous space between biography and autobiography, in a style that is poetic and mythological, but at the same time sharp and cutting, where the wounds of colonialism surface like a return of the repressed, drawing the geography of the present, illuminating its injustices, calling for active change.

“Jamaica Kincaid’s latest book translated into Italian (wonderfully, by Franca Cavagnoli) is entitled Biografia di un vestito (Adelphi, 2023) and presents itself to us readers as a talking photo album. The two-year-old girl, posing on a pedestal in a photographic studio in Antigua, tells us the complexity of that bush of misunderstandings that is autofiction: we know that she is the child writer, but at the same time the photographic lens, that dark pedestal that makes her a statuette, and the paper on which the image is reproduced compose a filter that distances the author from the narrator – Elaine Potter Richardson from Jamaica Kincaid and her narrator’s voice.” – from Francesca Maffioli, Jamaica Kincaid. The ambivalences of a writer of nightmares and idylls (catalogue Archivio Aperto 2023)


Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid was born in Antigua in 1949. Since publishing her debut story collection At the Bottom of the River in 1983, Kincaid has written five acclaimed novels, including Annie John, Lucy, and, most recently, See Now Then. Her nonfiction includes My Brother, a chronicle of her brother’s battle with AIDS, as well as A Small Place and Among Flowers. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, the Prix Femina étranger, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Clifton Fadiman Medal, and, in 2017, the Dan David Prize for Literature. In 2022, she received the Hadada Award from The Paris Review. She is Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University.



Poetry, Diaries and Novels is realized with the support of Settore Biblioteche e Welfare culturale del Comune di Bologna nell’ambito del Patto per la lettura di Bologna, Coop Alleanza 3.0
In collaboration with Adelphi.