Photo by Stadt Regensburg / Christian Kaister, 2022
Excerpt from the speakers agency: Sharon Dodua Otoo lets us look at the world through unusual perspectives: From the point of view of a broom, doorknob or breakfast egg, she tells world history. The author and editor manages to convey a personal approach to major issues such as feminism, colonialism and identity without raising a finger. As an activist, she is committed to fighting discrimination in the Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland (ISD-Bund) e.V. "Otoo generates [...] empathy and ultimately the ground for social change," says Swiss Radio and Television (SRF).
Otoo, born in London in 1972, studied German and Management Studies at Royal Holloway College in London. As a writer and activist, she focuses on discrimination, equal opportunities and education; she has written for Missy Magazine, an.schläge, ak - analyse & kritik, the Tagesspiegel and the African Courier. She became interested in German history while still at school and became enthusiastic about the plays and poems of Bertolt Brecht, among others. For her first short story written in German, "Herr Gröttrup setzt sich hin" (Mr Gröttrup sits down), she became the first British and the first Black author to receive the Bachmann Prize in 2016. Otoo is the editor of Witnessed, an English-language book series by Black authors who have lived in Germany.
God berlins, but that is only a minor matter in Sharon Dodua Otoo's debut novel "Adas Raum" (2021). Linked by a beaded bracelet, the novel follows four Adas through space and time from the perspective of a broom, a door knocker, a concentration camp room and a passport - from 15th-century West African Totope just before colonisation to present-day Berlin. "Otoo's literary play with perspective is an ode to the narrative power of the object world, which is condemned to constant, powerless witnessing of world events," sums up the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Denis Scheck finds: "A key to a whole new world".
Sharon Dodua Otoo finds it important to tell female perspectives on history, "the supposedly small stories that do not appear in history books in this way, but have contributed to things being this way". In the German-language literary landscape, she also lacked black characters and so began to write herself. Her first novellas "die dinge, die ich denke, während ich höflich lächeln" (2013) and "Synchronicity" (2014) tell of colours and shades of grey, of insecurities and empowerment. Deutschlandfunk Kultur attests to her "sharp eye for hidden racism". "Sharon Dodua Otoo sets [...] high standards", finds the intercultural magazine IN from Stuttgart.
In addition to the ISD, Sharon Dodua Otoo is involved with Phoenix e.V. for a culture of understanding and with ADEFRA e.V. a black queer feminist association. In 2018 she was a fellow of the German Literature Fund and in 2019 the Guntram and Irene Rinke Foundation awarded her the TAGEWERK scholarship.
2022, "Ist das Wasser", Rede zum Ende der Schulzeit, Potsdam
2022, Eröffnungsrede der Ruhrfestspiele, Recklinghausen
2022, "In Search of Resonance: On Black German Literature and Literary Criticism", Schröder-Lecture, Cambridge University
2020, "Dürfen Schwarze Blumen malen?", Klagenfurter Rede zur Literatur, Klagenfurt
2017, "Letter from the village", Lecture-Performance, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin
Please check you have used the correct spelling of the given names: Sharon Dodua and of the surname: Otoo. Here is also a » voice record of the name.
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