This article examines contemporary Somali diasporic literature by proposing a comparative analysis of Nuruddin Farah’s Maps and a selection of texts written by authors of Somali origin currently writing in Italian: Shirin Ramzanali Fazel, Cristina Ubah Ali Farah, and Igiaba Scego. Drawing on diaspora studies, theories of narrative space, and contemporary theories of world literature, this article argues that Somali diasporic literature places at its imaginative and symbolic core the concept of the border. In so doing, Somali diasporic literature interlocks formal and narrative strategies to political and literary histories in order to challenge the naturalized perception of linguistic and territorial boundaries. Through the investigation of how processes of border production and contestation define both the narrative geographies and the dynamics of institutional recognition of Somali literature written by the members of its global diaspora, this article further suggests that Somali diasporic writers engage with border epistemologies to articulate more historically conscious modalities of belonging to place and language.

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