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Literary Collections Essays

Dreaming of Elsewhere

Observations on Home

by (author) Esi Edugyan

Canadian Literature Centre / Centre de littérature canadienne, The University of Alberta Press
Initial publish date
Mar 2014
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    Publish Date
    Mar 2014
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    Mar 2014
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Home, for me, was not a birthright, but an invention. It seems to me when we speak of home we are speaking of several things, often at once, muddled together into an uneasy stew. We say home and mean origins, we say home and mean belonging. These are two different things: where we come from, and where we are. Writing about belonging is not a simple task. Esi Edugyan chooses to intertwine fact and fiction, objective and subjective in an effort to find out if one can belong to more than one place, if home is just a place or if it can be an idea, a person, a memory, or a dream. How "home" changes, how it changes us, and how every farewell carries the promise of a return. Readers of Canadian literature, armchair travellers, and all citizens of the global village will enjoy her explorations and reflections, as we follow her from Ghana to Germany, from Toronto to Budapest, from Paris to New York. Introduction by Marina Endicott.

About the author

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of Victoria, ESI EDUGYAN was raised in Calgary, Alberta. She is the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of Washington Black, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Man Booker Award and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize; Half-Blood Blues, which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and the Man Booker Prize and won the Scotiabank Giller Prize; and The Second Life of Samuel Tyne. She is also the author of Dreaming of Elsewhere, which is part of the Kreisel Memorial Lecture Series. She has held fellowships in the U.S., Scotland, Iceland, Germany, Hungary, Finland, Spain, and Belgium. She lives in Victoria, British Columbia.


Esi Edugyan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

# 6 on the Edmonton Journal's Bestsellers list (Edmonton Nonfiction) for the week of April 25, 2014

“Given that our human ancestors began their migrations more than 100,000 years ago, ‘home’ must always have been an idea as well as a physical location, ‘where we come from, and where we are,’ as Esi Edugyan writes in her new book. Home is ‘the actual and the possible.’… Edugyan knows that home, whether a physical location or an idea, is never static. Where we belong—or, more painfully, are forbidden from belonging—alters.… Confronted by the question of whether North America has reached a post-racial age and a colour-blind society, Edugyan answers simply and courageously: ‘I confess I find the notion ridiculous’.” [Full review at]

Literary Review of Canada

"Thinking through her own story of living in many countries in her late twenties, and revisiting her parents' country of origin, Ghana, in 2006, Edugyan reflects that 'I, who had lived so much of my life looking elsewhere, was slowly coming to acknowledge that non-belonging, also, can be a kind of belonging.'... To consider belonging a paramount objective, Edugyan suggests, runs the risk of enforcing 'a simple "us" vs. "them" manner of thinking.'"

Canadian Literature

“…Esi Edugyan offers an eloquent meditation on identity, culture and belonging in Dreaming of Elsewhere: Observations on Home.… A wise, elegant and engrossing read.”


"Newcomers now are educated, eloquent and outspoken. Much will change, and some things will not change at all.... Edugyan is one of the accomplished voices of the New Immigrant Experience.... In Dreaming of Elsewhere she recounts the familiar story of conflict and disconnection known to many first-generation Canadians.... Dreaming of Elsewhere is vivid and intimate. This is the voice of change." Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter, accessed May 27, 2014 [Full review at]

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