S9 E4 Camille T. Dungy & Yewande Omotoso: Gardening & Creating a Space of Welcome

07 Sep 2023
S9 E4 Camille T. Dungy & Yewande Omotoso: Gardening & Creating a Space of Welcome

Image credits: Yewande Omotoso by Suzy Bernstein and Camille T. Dungy by Beowulf Sheehan

Yewande Omotoso asks Camille Dungy about her latest book, Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden. They delve into nature writing, gardening, radical generosity, writing revisions, the ethics of fellowship grants, hope and resilience.

Yewande Omotoso trained as an architect and holds a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. She is the Vice-President and Treasurer of PEN South Africa. Her debut novel Bom Boy (Modjaji Books, 2011) won the South African Literary Award First Time Author Prize. Yewande was shortlisted for the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature and was a 2015 Miles Morland Scholar. Her second novel The Woman Next Door (Chatto and Windus, 2016) was shortlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and longlisted for the Baileys Women’s Literature Prize. It was a finalist in the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction and has been translated into Catalan, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Korean. Her third novel An Unusual Grief (Cassava Republic, 2022) was longlisted for the 2023 International Dublin Literary Award, the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Sunday Times literary awards.

Camille T. Dungy is the author of Soil: The Story of a Black Mother’s Garden (Simon & Schuster, 2023). She has also written Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History (W.W. Norton & Company, 2017), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and four collections of poetry, including Trophic Cascade (Wesleyan University Press, 2017), winner of the Colorado Book Award. Dungy edited Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (University of Georgia Press, 2009). She also co-edited the From the Fishouse poetry anthology and served as assistant editor for Gathering Ground: Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade. Dungy is the poetry editor for Orion magazine. A University Distinguished Professor at Colorado State University, Dungy’s honors include the 2021 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Book Award, and fellowships from the NEA in both prose and poetry. 

In this episode we are in solidarity with Egyptian poet and lyricist Galal El-Behairy. We call on the authorities in Egypt to free him. You can read more about his case here.

As tributes to him, Camille reads extracts from El-Behairy’s “A Letter from Tora Prison” and Yewande reads Camille’s poem “Trophic Cascade”.

Listen to the episode here: