Walking between worlds

Photo: Ibarionex Pirello

"My writing describes my experiences living in different countries, and my experiences of war, but beyond this, I think that people are interested in reading about how one person might attempt to cross a cultural divide. We live in an era in which community is, increasingly, something that we need to create for ourselves rather than something into which we are born. As a result I think there is a great hunger to discover how others have walked between worlds. In a way, the specifics of those worlds become less important than the way in which the traveler has attempted to bridge them. And with the growing number of people who are migrants (the United Nations estimates than one in five people on the planet have been displaced), the experience of migration itself - rather than the details of the home country or culture - becomes something that defines a person's identity."

Poet, playwright, and neuroscientist Pireeni Sundaralingam considers how migration defines a person's identity and art's ability to build bridges and break down the fears that lead to demonising others. Read Michelle Johnson's interview with Pireeni Sundaralingam in the March 2009 issue of World Literature Today here.

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