The Team

The Africa Writes Team is composed of the dedicated staff of the Royal African Society.

They say the most valuable asset of any organisation are the people who work in it; it is an honour to recognise the diverse and talented individuals whose passion, drive and unified vision to celebrate and promote contemporary African Literature, help make Africa Writes what it is:

Canon Collins conference in Cape Town, July 2015. Photography by Clare Louise ThomasCaitlin Pearson is the RAS Events Programme Manager. She works on the general public events programme as well the annual Africa Writes festival. Her background is in higher education and scholarship – she previously worked in communications and events at the Centre of African Studies, SOAS and at the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust. Caitlin holds a BA from the University of Birmingham and an MA from SOAS, both in African Studies. Her research interests include film and TV, representation, class and disability. In 2017, she led on expanding the reach of Africa Writes to other parts of England, as well as Wales and Scotland.




Joanna BrownJoanna Brown is the Education Programme Manager at Africa Writes. After six years as a primary teacher in Haringey, specialising in Literacy and Reading Enrichment, she is now developing streams of work to support cultural organisations in their delivery of educational programmes. Prior to working in education, she co-ordinated community projects in the housing sector, with a focus on performing arts. Previously she worked as an events co-ordinator at the British Film Institute and the BBC. She is of Sierra Leonean and English descent. Joanna holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Cambridge and trained to teach at the Institute of Education.




Beth O’Connor is currently a marketing and pr consultant for Africa Writes and Film Africa as well as undertaking a PHD at the University of Witwatersrand and managing international media for the Lake of Stars Festival (Malawi). In the past ten years Beth has overseen the marketing for London venues Rich Mix, The Design Museum and the Bishopsgate Institute as well as spending time in Johannesburg as a member of the leadership team for youth agency Livity Africa.





Marcelle Mateki Akita is the Project Coordinator at the Royal African Society and co-producer for Africa Writes 2018. She is a fiction writer, co-founder of Afrikult. and the web content editor for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her fiction work has appeared in magazines and literary journals such as Aké Review and AFREADA, and her debut collection ‘Lizard and Other Stories’ was published in December 2016. She holds an MA in African Studies from SOAS, University of London, majoring in literatures in African languages. She tweets at @matekiwrites.





Sheila Ruiz  is Deputy Director at the Royal African Society. She joined the RAS in September 2011 as the Events Programme Manager and helped set up Africa Writes in 2012. Prior to joining the RAS, Sheila was the Communications and Programming Consultant for the Africa Centre and previously worked as a freelance events producer for various arts projects in London. Sheila holds an MA in African Studies from SOAS and a BA in History from UCL. She is of mixed Spanish/Equato-Guinean heritage and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She tweets at @SheilaRuiz





Baindu Kallon is the Marketing Intern for Africa Writes. She is currently a postgraduate student at SOAS, University of London. She is getting her masters in African Studies, focusing on migration and borderlands in West Africa. Baindu received her bachelors degree in Journalism and International Studies with an emphasis on African development from Northwestern University. You can find her on Twitter @baindukallon






Ralitsa Chorbadzhiyska is the Production Intern for Africa Writes. She is graduating with English literature from King’s College London and her dissertation focuses on the image and representation of Jesus in contemporary African American rappers’ work. She has a personal blog and is on Instagram @ralitsa_chorbadzhiyska and tweets @RalitsaCh






We are grateful to all our previous festival team members: Yovanka Paquete Perdigao, Rhoda Tomilola Ola-Said, Amal Osman, Dele Meiji Fatunla, Kelechi Emmanuel Iwumene, Josette Joseph, Shushan Tewolde-Berhan, and Kate Wallis.