Arts & Letters Live: Clemantine Wamariya
Clemantine Wamariya will talk about her new novel, The Girl Who Smiled Beads: A Story of War and What Comes After, a powerful narrative about her survival after the Rwandan genocide. Six-year-old Clemantine and her 15-year-old sister, Claire, were two of the millions of people who fled Rwanda and were separated from family in 1994 while over 800,000 people were murdered.
Displaced and having fled through seven African countries, Wamariya writes with breathtaking clarity about both the kindness and the cruelty she and Claire encountered. Upon receiving asylum in the United States in 2000, Wamariya recounts how she and her sister worked to build new lives amidst fresh difficulties. The Girl Who Smiled Beads is a disarmingly beautiful work that captures the personal aftershocks of war and displacement. But it is more than that, it is about owning your experiences, about the life we create.
Wamariya is a storyteller, public speaker, social entrepreneur, and human rights advocate. Born in Kigali, Rwanda, Wamariya holds a BA from Yale University in Comparative Literature. A powerful public speaker, she has spoken at the United Nations, TEDxYale, and the US Department of Homeland Security Human Rights Law Conference. In 2016 Wamariya was reappointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the board of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.