Caryl Phillips' new book Foreigners is a hybrid of reportage, fiction, and historical fact that tells the stories of three black men whose lives speak resoundingly to the place and role of the foreigner in English society.
Together Caryl Phillips and Ian Buruma will discuss notions of identity, belonging, race, class, anti-semitism, and faith and Islam, which affect present-day Europe, reflecting on how these issues are examined in literature and the broader culture- New York Public Library
Ian Buruma is an Anglo-Dutch writer and academic. Much of his work focuses on Asian culture, particularly that of 20th-century Japan.
He was born in the Netherlands, to a Dutch father and English Jewish mother. He studied Chinese literature and then Japanese film at Nihon University in Tokyo. He has held a number of editorial and academic positions and has contributed numerous articles to the New York Review of Books.
He has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C and St. Antony's College, Oxford. In 2003, he became Luce Professor of Democracy, Human Rights & Journalism at Bard College, New York.
Caryl Phillips was born in St.Kitts and came to Britain as a baby. He grew up in Leeds, and studied English Literature at Oxford University.
Phillips began writing for the theatre. His plays include Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). He won the BBC Giles Cooper Award for Best Radio Play of the year with The Wasted Years (1984).
He has written many dramas and documentaries for radio and television, including, in 1996, the three-hour film of his own novel The Final Passage. He wrote the screenplay for the film Playing Away (1986), and his screenplay for the Merchant Ivory adaptation of V.S.Naipaul's The Mystic Masseur (2001) won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata film festival in Argentina.
His novels are: The Final Passage (1985), A State of Independence (1986), Higher Ground (1989), Cambridge (1991), Crossing the River (1993), The Nature of Blood (1997), A Distant Shore (2003) and Dancing in the Dark (2005). His non-fiction includes The European Tribe (1987), The Atlantic Sound (2000), and A New World Order (2001).
He is the editor of two anthologies: Extravagant Strangers: A Literature of Belonging (1997) and The Right Set: An Anthology of Writing on Tennis (1999). His work has been translated into over a dozen languages.
He was named Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 1992 and was on the 1993 Granta list of Best of Young British Writers. His literary awards include the Martin Luther King Memorial Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a British Council Fellowship, a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, and Britain's oldest literary award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Crossing the River, which was also shortlisted for the 1993 Booker Prize.
A Distant Shore won the 2004 Commonwealth Writers Prize; Dancing in the Dark won the 2006 PEN/Beyond the Margins Award. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
He has taught at universities in Ghana, Sweden, Singapore, Barbados, India, and the United States, and in 1999 was the University of the West Indies Humanities Scholar of the Year. In 2002-03, he was a fellow at the Centre for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.
Formerly Henry R. Luce Professor of Migration and Social Order at Columbia University, he is presently professor of English at Yale University. He is an honorary fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford University.
A regular contributor to The Guardian and The New Republic, his latest book Foreigners was published in 2007.
Caryl Phillips talks about the humbling benefits of anonymity for artists in New York City. He and Ian Buruma also examine the struggles faced by Muslim immigrants in Europe as they try to both assimilate and forge their own identity.
Ian Buruma and Caryl Phillips recall that most immigrants in the past aspired to assimilate into mainstream culture. Now, a sizable minority of Muslim immigrants seek to remain antagonistically disparate. They discuss what could be driving today's young European Muslims to extremism.