The Inauguration of Barack Obama

The Inauguration of Barack Obama

The Strand

Open Letters to a new President

In the week prior to the inauguration of President Barack Obama, The Strand invited five writers and poets to send an open letter to the new leader. From around the world, they express their hopes and concerns.

12/01/09 -
Listen Aminatta Forna

The Sierra Leonean Scottish writer Aminatta Forna describes how her main emotion was one of relief that at last there is someone in the most powerful position on the planet who was also born at 'a crossroads' as she puts it.

13/01/09 - Listen David Grossman

Barack Obama has already admitted reading David Grossman's books to try to get a better understanding of the Middle East conflict.

14/01/09 - Listen Derek Walcott

The Nobel Prize winning writer reads a peom especially written for the World Service to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama.

15/01/09 - Listen Raja Shehadeh

The Palestinian lawyer and writer, best known for his books on international law and human rights, writes an open letter to the new President.

19/01/09 - Listen Wole Soyinka

The Nigerian writer, poet and playwright considers recent history and how slow change can sometimes be when nations choose a new direction.