Media

The Guests: Edward Said and Joseph Conrad with Hisham Matar

The Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture

May 17, 2019

Edward W. Said remained, for over forty years, concerned with Conrad. A fascinating conversation emerges between the two men’s work, one concerned with aesthetics, displacement and empire, and sheds an interesting light on the present moment.

Performance by Ibrahim Alshaikh (14 years old), clarinet, studying at Barenboim-Said Foundation Ramallah

Opening Remarks by David Freedberg and Gauri Viswanathan

Introduction by Safwan Masri

The Fall 2018 Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture was given by Hisham Matar. Matar is the author of two novels and a memoir. The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between (2016) won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Autobiography, the PEN America Book of the Year Award, and the Rathbones Folio Prize. The Return was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and shortlisted for the Costa Awards, and was named one of the best books of the year by The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. The memoir tells of his father’s kidnapping when Matar was 19 and studying in London: one of the Qaddafi regime’s most prominent opponents in exile, his father was held in a secret prison in Libya and Hisham would never see him again. And yet The Return is an uplifting memoir; Matar recounts his journey home to Libya in search of the truth behind his father’s disappearance; he never gave up hope that his father might still be alive. “Hope,” as he writes, “is cunning and persistent.”