What is in a title?

Depending on where you buy Dinaw Mengestu’s book, you have read either ‘Children of the Revolution’ or ‘The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears’.  But; it’s the same powerful book. So why the two different titles? Publishers in the USA thought ‘Children of the Revolution’, which is the book’s title in Britain, would discourage readers who might think it was a book about communism.

So what is the book about?Ethiopian-American author, DinawMengestu, used his father’s stories among others to weave his tale of an immigrants’ struggle in America.  “Don’t go calling it an immigrant novel because that’s not what it’s about,” Mengestu says, “There is nothing wrong with immigration. But to say that it’s an immigrant novel is ridiculous. America has a history of immigration.”His point is that just because the story unfolds from an African ethnic experience is no reason to call it an immigrant novel. That definition would make most stories immigrant stories.

Dinaw Mengestu has been recognised by the prestigious New Yorker journal, as one of the “Top 20 writers under 40” He has also written How To Read The Air which was released in October 2010 and his writing has also appeared in Harper’s, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other publications.

He will appear at the Storymoja Hay Festival from the 13th to the 16th September, 2012 at the Nairobi National Museum courtesy of the American Embassy.  For more information, please visit www.storymojahayfestival.com