Teju Cole, author of Open City
, speaks on the novel’s theme: the city as palimpsest (in ancient Rome, a wax-coated writing tablet whose surface did not always obliterate previous writings). He will explore how, in New York, particularly Lower Manhattan, the past coexists quite literally with the present. What do the earlier pasts of Manhattan mean for us today as we think about recent erasures like that of 9/11 and of rewritings like the new construction at Ground Zero? Does writing over what has been written on before entail an ethical responsibility? Can historical knowledge help us heal from collective trauma?
Image: courtesy Teju Cole