FRIDAY 5 JULY 2013

10.00 - 13.00
discussion
BL CONFERENCE CENTRE
FREE (but booking required)
BOOK HERE

Africa in Translation: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed…

A three-panel symposium featuring translators, writers, artists and academics, including: Magdalene Odundo, Wangui wa Goro, Ghirmai Negash, Mohammed Bakari, Gywenth Sutherlin, Ros Schwartz, Tomi Adeaga, Delia Jarrett McCauley, Christelle Kedi, Eugene Skeef and Charles Umelo. Chairs: Dr Mpalive Msiska (Reader in English & Humanities) and Hannah Pool (journalist, author & curator).

 

This symposium will reflect on translation and traducture (a term coined by acclaimed translator and thinker Wangui wa Goro), focusing on their importance for knowledge management in Africa, as a basis for inter-cultural dialogue and understanding. Translators, writers, artists and academics come together to discuss how the digital, written and oral words interact to transfer knowledge and meaning across real life and different media and cultural forms stemming from Africa and the diaspora, shaping the continent and perceptions of African development.

This event is in partnership with SIDENSI, which promotes intercultural dialogue through translation and traducture.

 

14:00-17:00
discussion
BL Conference Centre
FREE (but booking required)
BOOK HERE

Writing Africa’s Futures

Panel discussion with distinguished authors Doreen Baingana and Professor Zoe Wicomb (University of Strathclyde), chaired by Professor Stephanie Newell (University of Sussex). Followed by interviews and readings with the five short-listed authors for The 2013 Caine Prize (Elnathan John, Tope Folarin, Pede Hollist, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta), chaired by Doreen Baingana.

 

Each year, the Caine Prize maps new directions in contemporary African writing. This session offers an in-depth discussion of the continent’s flourishing literary cultures and futures, where we will explore the new themes, techniques and genres being adopted by contemporary African writers and asking: where is African writing going in the 21st century? And, what can the literatures of Africa tell us about Africa itself?

 

18.00 - 20.30
EVENT
BL Conference Centre
£7.50 / £5 concessions
BOOK HERE

Diaspora Writes Back

Poetry evening featuring acclaimed poets Warsan Shire, Nick Makoha, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and Leeto Thale. Introduced and moderated by Bernardine Evaristo MBE (Anglo-Nigerian novelist and founder of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize).

 

Join four award-winning London-based African poets as they explore notions of culture, migration and identity in this stimulating evening of verse and versatility. Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire, Ugandan Nick Makoha, Ghanaian Nii Ayikwei Parkes and South African Leeto Thale will read and perform selected poems, followed by a discussion of their work with Bernardine Evaristo MBE, British-Nigerian author and founder of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize.

 

SATURDAY 6 JULY 2013

 
 

12.15 - 13.00
discussion
BL Conference Centre
FREE

African Writing Today

Panel discussion with authors Doreen Baingana, Tendai Huchu and Leila Aboulela. Chaired by Chuma Nwokolo (Publisher & Editor, African Writing Magazine).

 

What are the current trends and new directions in African writing today? Drawing from their own work and literary influences, these four champions of contemporary African literature will share their views on the emerging narratives that are giving expression to the complex and diverse contemporary African experience. This introductory panel will cover a breadth of genres and issues, from innovative styles and techniques through to the increased prominence of women’s writing and the rising popularity of African literature on the world stage.

 

13.00 - 13.30
Pre-book launch
BL Conference Centre
FREE

“Fairytales for Lost Children” by Diriye Osman

Exclusive pre-book launch event with author Diriye Osman. Chaired by Dele Fatunla (Website Editor, Royal African Society).

 

At the end of 2008, Diriye Osman, 29, set out to put together a collection of stories about what it meant to be young, gay and Somali. The stories would have a deeply intimate feel, drawing on Osman’s own experiences as a gay Somali. Using a unique idiom rooted in hip hop, graphic illustrations, Arabic calligraphy and folklore studded with Kiswahili and Somali slang, the resulting volume was titled Fairytales For Lost Children.

 

13.30 - 14.00
BOOK LAUNCH
BL Conference Centre
FREE

“Black Star Nairobi” by Mukoma wa Ngugi

Book launch with author Mukoma wa Ngugi. Chaired by Dr Ranka Primorac (Department of English, University of Southampton).


When a bomb explodes in a downtown Nairobi hotel, private detectives Ishmael and Odhiambo quickly connect the event to a murder case they are investigating. But then the CIA and local police claim the bombing was the work of Al Qaeda, and they’re under pressure to abandon the investigation. That’s until a startling act of violence tips the scales – and the detectives begin to pursue the shadowy forces that appear to be behind it all. The thrilling sequel to Nairobi Heat, Black Star Nairobi confirms wa Ngugi’s position as a writer of not only some of the most original crime fiction around, but as a voice calling out against the corruption and secrecy of modern politics.

 

 

14.00 - 14.30
PRE-BOOK LAUNCH
BL Conference Centre
FREE

“Orchard of Lost Souls” by Nadifa Mohamed

Exclusive pre-book launch even with author Nadifa Mohamed. Chaired by Richard Dowden (Director, Royal African Society).

 

It is 1988 and Hargeisa waits. Whispers of revolution travel on the dry winds but still the dictatorship remains secure. Soon, and through the eyes of three women, we will see Somalia fall. Nine-year-old Deqo has left the vast refugee camp she was born in, lured to the city by the promise of her first pair of shoes. Kawsar, a solitary widow, is trapped in her little house with its garden clawed from the desert, confined to her bed after a savage beating in the local police station. Filsan, a young female soldier, has moved from Mogadishu to supress the rebellion growing in the north. And as the country is unravelled by a civil war that will shock the world, the fate of the three women is twisted irrevocably together. Intimate, frank, brimming with beauty and love, The Orchard of Lost Souls is an unforgettable account of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times.

 

14.30 - 15.30
discussion
BL Conference Centre
FREE

African Literature Prizes & The Economy of Prestige

Panel discussion with Billy Kahora (author & Managing Editor of Kwani?), Jamal Mahjoub (Chair of Judges for The Kwani? Manuscript Project 2013 and Chair of Judges for The Caine Prize 2007) and Bernardine Evaristo MBE (novelist & Founder of the Brunel University African Poetry Prize). Chaired by Lizzy Attree (Administrator of The Caine Prize for African Writing)

 

As James English argues in his book The Economy of Prestige, to explore literary prizes is to explore literature’s relationships ‘to money, to politics, to the social and to the temporal’.  Set in the context of the recent announcements of the winner of the Kwani? Manuscript Project, the Brunel University African Poetry Prize and the imminent announcement of the winner of The Caine Prize 2013, panellists share their experiences of ‘prizing’ and ‘being prized’, addressing questions such as: Where does the power to confer cultural value on African literature reside? Which of Africa’s 250+ literary awards have been the most significant and why? What are the politics that dictate the setting up and funding of awards for contemporary Anglo-phone African literature?  And, what is the relationship of literary prizes to structures of publishing and circulation within Africa and in the West?

 

This event is in partnership with Kwani Trust, a literary publisher and promoter of new writing from around the African continent.

 

 

15.30 - 16.30
event
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Tribute to Chinua Achebe

A tribute to the late Chinua Achebe with James Currey (Founder, James Currey Publishers and adviser to Pearson on African Writers Series), Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke MBE (Founder, Ayebia Clarke Publishing Ltd), Chibundu Onuzo (author, The Spider King’s Daughter), Chuma Nwokolo (Publisher & Editor, African Writing Magazine). Chaired by Richard Dowden (Director, Royal African Society) with a screening of his short film.


Chinua Achebe, world-renowned author and father of modern African literature, died in March this year aged 82. This commemorative event will celebrate his lifetime achievements and legacy with speakers who knew him personally and others who have been inspired by his work. The event will include an elegy in Igbo from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and tributes from authors Chibundo Onuzo and Chuma Nwokolo. A short film made for BBC Newsnight by Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal African Society, will be followed by a reflection on his life, work and significance in African and world literature by James Currey and Becky Nana Ayebia Clarke who both worked with Achebe on the Heinemann African Writers Series.

 

 

16.30 - 17.00
book launch
BL Conference Centre
FREE

“Bonfires of the Gods”
by Andrew Eseimokumo Oki

Book launch with author Andrew Eseimokumo Oki. Chaired by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2013 Caine Prize shortlisted author).


Bonfires of the Gods tells the heart-rending fictitious accounts of the real life experiences of people who suffered the violent outrage of the Ijaw-Itsekiri ethnic clash of 1997 in the city of Warri, Delta State of Nigeria. The novel is set in the backdrop of this unexpected war and tells the human stories behind this bloody conflict. Bonfires of the Gods is a story of love and hate, life and death, and the quest for survival in one’s own homeland.

 

 

17.00 - 16.00
EVENT
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Meet the 2013 Caine Prize Shortlisted Writers

Event featuring the five short-listed authors for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing: Elnathan John, Tope Folarin, Pede Hollist, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim and Chinelo Okparanta.Chairs: Tricia Wombell (Black Book News / Black Reading Group) & Jacqueline Auma (London Afro-Caribbean Book Club).

 

Meet the shortlisted writers for the 2013 Caine Prize for African Writing and discuss their work, with Tricia Wombell, of the Black Reading Group, and Jacqueline Auma, of the London Afro-Caribbean Book Group, as moderators. The selected five short stories are now available to read on the Caine Prize’s website (www.caineprize.com) and will be published by New Internationalist in the annual Caine Prize anthology along with the 2013 workshop stories. The anthology, entitled A Memory This Size and Other Stories, will be on sale at this event.

 

This is a Caine Prize 2013 event organised in partnership with the Black Reading Group and the London Afro-Caribbean Book Club.

 

 

 

18.30 - 20.00
EVENT
BL Conference Centre
£7.50 / £5 concessions
BOOK HERE

Two Writers, Two Generations: Ngugi wa Thiong’o & Mukoma wa Ngugi

An intimate conversation between acclaimed author and theorist, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and his son, Mukoma wa Ngugi, a rising star in African Literature. Chaired by Margaret Busby (critic, writer and editor).


Ngugi wa Thiong’o was one of the leading lights of African literature to emerge in the post-independence era and is now established as one of the greatest African novelists and theorists. He is the author of the radical, political book, Decolonising the Mind, and numerous novels, including Grain of Wheat and Wizard of the Crow. His son, Mukoma wa Ngugi, has chosen to tackle contemporary Africa through the genre of crime fiction thrillers. His two novels, Nairobi Heat and Black Star Nairobi, have positioned him at the forefront of the contemporary literary scene. This event brings father and son together to talk about their respective works, preoccupations and aspirations as two writers from different generations and to discuss how they see the role of the writer in Africa today.

 

17.00 - 01.00
PARTY
RICH MIX, 35-47 Bethnal Green Rd, London
E1 6LA
£10 adv / £12 door / £5 concs

Africa Writes Party with NUMBI & Kwani?

Join us for a special party at the Rich Mix with our partners NUMBI Arts and Kwani? 

This exceptional evening will celebrate the launch of NUMBI's cross cultural & cross arts Scarf magazine, the 10th anniversary of the Kwani? Literary Journal, and the second year of Africa Writes. Come along and bring your friends!


This event has been organised by NUMBI Arts. For tickets and more information, please visit the Rich Mix website

 

SUNDAY 7 JULY 2013

 
 

12.00 - 12.30
TALK
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Beyond Timbuktu: West Africa, Script and Manuscript

Talk by Dr Marion Wallace (Curator of African Studies, The British Library).

 

Earlier this year, armed conflict in Mali brought the existence – and vulnerability – of Timbuktu’s rich manuscript collections to the attention of the world. But the Timbuktu libraries are only one site of an extensive and deep-rooted culture of written scholarship and literature in Africa. In this talk, Dr Marion Wallace, the British Library’s Africa Curator, will explore these spheres of learning and knowledge, and discuss how writing happens. She will focus on West Africa, with illustrations from the BL’s own rare manuscripts.

 

 

12.30 - 13.30
Discussion
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Fantasy or Reality?
Afropolitan Narratives of the 21st Century

Panel discussion with Minna Salami (writer and blogger at MsAfropolitan), Emma Dabiri (PhD researcher) and Nana Ocran (journalist and editor). Chaired by Professor Paul Gilroy (Professor of American and English Literature, King’s College London)

.
Who is an Afropolitan? What is Afropolitanism? And how have these notions informed debate and thinking about 21st century Africa and Africans, both within the continent and in the Diaspora? Taiye Selasi’s widely read essay coined the term Afropolitan - a merger of the words African and Cosmopolitan - with a suggestion that this new word described a new kind of person, ideology and identity in relation to Africa, that “in a short period of time has helped to nurture more positive views of Africa, not least amongst Africans themselves”. Yet subsequent criticism suggests that Afropolitanism is a shallow term that may have once held the promise of being a counterweight to Afro-pessimism, but increasingly stands for empty style and commodification. Where do you stand? Come and join the debate in this lively panel, where we bring together one of Afropolitanism’s staunchest critics, Binyavanga Wainana; self-proclaimed Ms. Afropolitan, Minna Salami; sociologist and researcher Emma Dabiri, and Journalist Nana Ocran.

 

 

13.30 - 14.00
EVENT
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Writing the Revolution: Scarf Magazine

Presentation of Scarf magazine with Dorothea Smartt (poet), Jessica Horn (women’s rights activist and writer) and Elmi Ali (poet, writer and performer). Chaired by Kinsi Abdulleh (Founding Editor of Scarf Magazine).

 

Scarf Magazine's humble beginnings can be traced back to May 2010. Three years on, Scarf has developed a strong personality of its own as a cross-arts publication, which showcases daring new voices from Africa, the Diaspora and beyond. This year's issue focuses on Revolutions, featuring a dazzling and radical take on contemporary art, literature, film and music. Kinsi Abdulleh, Scarf Magazine's Founding Editor, leads a conversation with members of the editorial team and Scarf Magazine's 2013 contributors, discussing the latest 'Revolutions' issue and the upcoming 'Youth' issue.

 

 

 

14.00 - 14.30
READING
BL Conference Centre
FREE

“The Hairdresser of Harare” by Tendai Huchu

Book reading with author Tendai Huchu. Chaired by Chino Odimba (Writer-on-Attachment, Bristol Old Vic).

 

Vimbai is the star hairdresser of her salon, the smartest in Harare, Zimbabwe, until the enigmatic Dumisani appears. Losing many of her best customers to this good-looking, smooth-talking young man, Vimbai fears for her job, vital if she’s to provide for her young child. But in a remarkable reversal the two become allies, Dumi renting a room from Vimbai, then inviting her to a family wedding, where to her surprise, he introduces her to his rich parents as his ‘girlfriend’. Soon they are running their own Harare salon, attracting the wealthiest and most powerful clients in the city. But disaster is near, as Vimbai soon uncovers Dumi’s secret, a discovery that will result in brutality and tragedy, testing their relationship to the very limit.

 

 

14.30 - 15.30
DISCUSSION
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Re-writing Africa: The Place of Non-Fiction

Panel discussion with Billy Kahora (Managing Editor of Kwani? and author), Mary Harper (Africa Editor, BBC World Service), Michael Salu (Artistic Director, Granta) and Samson Kambalu (artist and author).Chaired by Ike Anya (Co-Founder, TEDxEuston).

 

Focusing on the rising genre of African non-fiction, we bring together writers, artists and editors who have commissioned and created important new written and visual narratives that challenge conventional representations of Africa.  Panelists will share their experiences of the process and challenges of creating work that expands the lens through which we see the continent to envision multiple stories, identities, materialities and temporalities, exploring questions, such as: How can visual representations of Africa move away from a development discourse and colonial legacy? How do non-fiction and visual forms negotiate a relationship with fiction, the literary, truth and history? And has the recent publication of new memoirs by leading African writers Achebe, Ngugi and Wainaina shifted the landscape of African non-fiction writing today?  

 

This event is in partnership with Kwani Trust, a literary publisher and promoter of new writing from around the African continent.

 

 

 

15.30 - 16.30
Discussion
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Digital Futures: The changing landscape of African publishing

Panel discussion with Elizabeth Wood (Director of Digital Publishing and Mobile Platforms, World Reader), Lynette Lisk (Commissioning Editor, Pearson Education), Simi Dosekun (Former Managing Editor, Kachifo Limited), Michael Bhaskar (Digital Publishing Director, Profile Books). Chaired by Mary Jay (Consultant / Former Director, African Books Collective).


There is excitement in Africa and the publishing world around the prospect of a ‘digital revolution’ in the way that literature is distributed, marketed and consumed. E-readers and mobile phones offer new, cheaper ways for digital literature to be transmitted, opening up the possibility of a continent-wide culture of reading for pleasure. But is digital publishing in Africa really catalysing new forms of reading and fostering creative literature or is it simply fuelling an explosion in digital self-publishing? This expert panel will explore the opportunities and constraints of digital publishing within the African market, discussing how and where it is making an impact. Taking stock of the current global trends in e-publishing, our panel will forecast what the future may hold for the continent.

 

 

 

16.30 - 17.30
EVENT
BL Conference Centre
FREE

Sundiata Keita and the Epic of Ancient Mali

A staged production of the Epic of Sunjata, using excerpts of an English transcribed text, featuring actor Denver Isaac and renowned griot and master kora player Seckou Keita. With an introduction by Wilfred Willey (President of the Malian Community Council).


The Epic of Sundiata Keita, founder of the ancient Mali Empire, has been orally transmitted by West African griots and praise singers since the 13th Century. The history Mali’s creation has served many purposes, including providing a shared historical narrative among the Mandinka people and legitimising the Malian state’s kinship groups and rulers. The epic is integral to the traditional cultures of Mali, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea and it is deeply imbedded within the oral cannon throughout West Africa. This special staged production of the epic in English highlights the ancient roots of West African literature and the connection between the oral and written traditions.


This event was conceived and developed with the generous help and guidance of Dr Lucy Durán, Lecturer in African Music at SOAS. The adapted text was developed by Dele Meije Fatunla.

 

 

 

WORKSHOPS

 

No need to book for these events, but turn up early as places are limited - and it's first come, first served.

 

Saturday 6 July, 12:00-13:00
WORKSHOP
BL Conference Centre
FREE (but limited spaces)

WORKSHOP: Find Your Voice
(aimed at 13-19 yearolds)

A peer-led workshop for 13-19 yearolds. Facilitated by Thiong’o Kimathi Ngugi (short fiction writer) and Elmi Ali (poet, writer and performer).


Are you aged 13-19 and interested in writing? Would you like to know how others your age have started writing? And, most importantly, would you like to find your own voice? Come along to this workshop and try your hand at being creative through writing in a safe, fun and supportive environment. During this session, you will meet and join other young people to create a collective poem, a micro fiction piece or something altogether new! Come with an open mind and expect to be have fun and be inspired!

 

 

 

 

Sunday 7 July, 12.00-13.00
WORKSHOP
BL Conference Centre
FREE (but limited spaces)

WORKSHOP: Words, Youth & Revolution
(All welcome!)

An inter-generational workshop for all the family. Facilitated by Dorothea Smartt (poet and live artist), Jessica Horn (women’s rights activist and writer) and Kinsi Abdulleh (founder of Scarf Magazine and NUMBI Arts).

 

Youth and revolution are the themes of Scarf magazine’s current and future issues. Join Scarf’s Founding Editor Kinsi Abdulleh, along with Dorothea Smartt and Jessica Horn, for this intergenerational workshop that will remember past revolutionary figures and movements. Bring stories of your own heroes and heroines and your dreams and aspirations for the future. Together with the other workshop participants, you will create beautiful responses in the form of Haikus and Visuals. 

 

 

 

Saturday 6 July & Sunday 7 July 12:00-12:45 (4-7 yrs) & 15:00-15:45 (8-12 yrs)
WORKSHOP
BL Conference Centre
FREE (but limited spaces)

WORKSHOP: Story Time!
(aimed at 4-7 & 8-12 yearolds)

Interactive story-telling workshops for 4-7 and 8-12 yearolds. Parents welcome too. Facilitated by Louisa Bello (Nigerian/English ESL teacher and writer).

 

It’s story-telling time! Gather around, huddle together and listen to magical stories set in different parts of Africa. Expect to interact with all your senses and use your imagination to bring to life the characters, write or draw them in your very own settings, and re-tell the stories in your own way!