The Reclamation Workshop: Our Mothers As Homeland

This performance workshop features two writers, one African and the other African American, in direct conversation with each other, interrogating themes of family, heartbreak, class, and childhood. Anchored in the maternal audacity of Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Derek Nnuro and Tameka Cage Conley will perform a series of letters written to each other about their own maternal stories. The matriarchal thread is of particular interest to both writer-performers, as Nnuro’s Ashanti culture is matriarchal, and Cage-Conley’s manifested as such as well. By necessity, the paternal has a heartbeat in these letters, for how can the maternal be explored completely separate from the paternal? This performance is culled from a unique socio-political moment in the US, in which questions arise constantly about how “an American” is defined and how we might collectively and individually feel about our country—as homeland and as motherland—is challenged. After the performance, workshop attendants will be invited to delve into their own origins, histories, and turbulence along the way, and write about them in epistolary form. Sunday, Oct. 7, 2-4 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library, mtg. room A.