Author Sharon Otoo Visits Howard University

Nov 18, 2016

Otoo Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) Sharon Otoo, an esteemed author, editor and activist, visited Howard University on Wednesday, where she was welcomed by German Deputy Ambassador Boris Ruge. Otoo is a British author of African descent who has spent the last 24 years living and working in Germany. Her success in Germany is an example of the opportunities that the country has for people with an immigrant background.

Otoo moved to Germany as an au pair in 1992, facing the unknown. Two decades later, she still lives in Germany, where she spends her time writing and editing stories. This year, the young writer won one of the most prestigious awards in the German literary world, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize. She was given the award for a story she titled Herr Gröttrup Sits Down, which is centered around the life of scientist Helmut Gröttrup while he has a conversation with his wife at the breakfast table. Otoo wrote the story in German – a language that was once foreign to her but that she has since mastered.

Aside from writing stories, Ms. Otoo is also an editor, most notably of a book series called Witnessed, which is written by authors of African American descent.

German Deputy Ambassador welcomed the young woman to Howard University this week, where she spoke to students as part of her US book tour. She also did a live reading of her award-winning short story.

Howard Enlarge image (© Earlier this year, the German Embassy sponsored an exhibit at Howard University titled Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and in Present Times. This exhibit is a collective self-portrait that gives voice to the complex and varied histories of the black people from the past three centuries of German history. The German Embassy is proud to be working with Howard University to sponsor events that showcase the achievements of black people who live or have lived in Germany.

By Nicole Glass, Editor of The Week in Germany


Homestory Exhibition Tells Stories of Black People in Germany

Howard University is hosting a new exhibition that sheds light on the lives and stories of black people in Germany. The exhibition profiles black people from the past three centuries of German history, sharing both their struggles and success stories. Many individuals profiled in the exhibit dealt with racism, and both tales of “ordinary” and prominent black figures are told.