© 2019 Anna Van Lenten

Diagram of the Heart / Glenna Gordon

February 2017

© Glenna Gordon

Print exhibit, book sale, & talk
Monday Feb. 20th, 2017, 7:00 PM
Moderated by Anna Van Lenten, Half King Photo Series Curator

The female authors of romance novels in Northern Nigeria would find it fitting that Diagram of the Heart is opening in February, the month of Valentine's Day. Glenna Gordon's pictures track the lives of these writers, whose heady love stories (littattafan soyayya) are consumed by readers living in a very traditional culture.

Best known as the base for the terrorist group Boko Haram, Northern Nigeria produces a cottage industry of romance writers who face off with Islamic censors, while selling their books in some of the same markets targeted by Boko Haram suicide bombers.​The books are about love and marriage. Some are subversive and speak out against human trafficking and child marriage, while others are submissive, advising women on how best to please their husbands, offering fantasies of escape and tales of the poor girl marrying the rich man.


Copies of Glenna's award-winning book Diagram of the Heart will be available for sale, as well as other Red Hook Editions Imprints

GLENNA GORDON is a documentary photographer, editor, and adjunct professor at The New School in New York. She's been commissioned by the New York Times Magazine, TIME, The Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and many other outlets. A recipient of a World Press Award in 2015, selected other awards include the LensCulture Grand Prize for Visual Storytelling, PX3 First Prize for Portraiture, the PDN Annual's Project Award and Book Award, and American Photo 30, 31 and 32. ​

Her monograph DIAGRAM OF THE HEART was released by Red Hook Editions in February 2016, and was chosed by the New York Times Magazine, Pictures of the Year Internaitonal (POYi), and PDN's Photo Annual as a photobook of the year. In fall 2016, she became a partner and editor at Red Hook Editions, and looks forward to helping other photographers make books.