Sofia Samatar



On Writing and the Writing Life

Opacities is a book about writing, publishing, and friendship. Rooted in an epistolary relationship between Sofia Samatar and a friend and fellow writer, this collection of meditations traces Samatar's attempt to rediscover the intimacy of writing

In a series of compressed, dynamic prose pieces, Samatar blends letters from her friend with notes on literature, turning to Édouard Glissant to study the necessary opacity of identity, to Theresa Hak Kyung Cha for a model of literary kinship, and to a variety of others, including Clarice Lispector, Maurice Blanchot, and Rainer Maria Rilke, for insights on the experience and practice of writing.  

In so doing, Samatar addresses a number of questions about the writing life: Why does publishing feel like the opposite of writing? How can a Black woman navigate interviews and writing conferences without being reduced to a symbol? Are writers located in their biographies or in their texts? And above all, how can the next book be written?

Blurring the line between author and character and between correspondence and literary criticism, Opacities delivers a personal, contemplative exploration of writing where it lives, among impassioned conversations and the work of beloved writers.