Akulah AgbamiAkulah Agbami is a former lecturer in English at the University of the French West Indies,and former editor of Spare Rib magazine. She is now artistic director of Sheba Soul Ensemble, having written and directed Lovesplay, Warnings and Mkeka - which have toured the UK in the past two years. She is also director of Black Artist's on the Move, responsible for our GLOBALEX programme, which offers developmental opportunities to Black artists from different disciplines based in Africa, the Caribbean and the US. As an artist, her work examines injustices and the circuitous path to equality for all.
Amelia's GardenAmelia's Garden is a black-led production company, nurturing diverse voices and narratives for stage and screen. Amelia's Garden is the brainchild of acclaimed Missing Pieces founder Jenny Davis.
Billy KahoraBilly Kahora’s short fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared in Chimurenga, McSweeney’s, Granta Online, Internazionale and Vanity Fair and Kwani. He has written a non-fiction novella titled The True Story Of David Munyakei, the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life which won the Kalasha awards. He worked for nearly a decade for Kenya’s leading literary publisher Kwani Trust, editing seven issues of the Kwani? journal. His new short story collection The Cape Cod Bicycle War has just been published by Huza Press.
Charlie Brinkhurst-CuffCharlie Brinkhurst-Cuff is an award-winning writer, editor and columnist of Jamaican-Cuban heritage, who focuses on issues surrounding race, feminism, social justice and media. She is the deputy editor of gal-dem, a magazine written and produced exclusively by women of colour and non-binary people of colour aiming to diversify the journalism landscape. She also contributes to publications including the Guardian, iPaper and Dazed. She is the editor of Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children. Follow her on Twitter @CharlieBCuff.
Cherrie KandieCherrie Kandie has been shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2019 for her short story, “Sew My Mouth”, published in ID Identity: New Short Fiction From Africa. Cherrie Kandie is a Kenyan writer and a senior at college in the United States of America. She also makes short films and enjoys dancing to Lingala (only in her room).
Dzekashu MacVibanDzekashu MacViban is a writer, journalist and editor based in Yaoundé. In 2011, he published a collection of poems titled Scions of the Malcontent and founded Bakwa Magazine. After a one year gig at the Ann Arbor Review of Books, he subsequently wrote for Goethe.de/kamerun, The Africa Report, This is Africa and IDG Connect. In 2016, he was a writer-in-residence at the Ebedi International Writers Residency. His fiction has appeared in Wasafiri, Kwani? and Jungle Jim, and received Special Mention for the 2016 Short Story Day Africa Prize. He was formerly Editorial Manager at This is Africa.
Dr Edson BurtonDr Edson Burton is a writer, historian, programme-curator and performer based in Bristol. He has been a consultant and coordinator for a range of history projects in Bristol including most recently a study of Bristol's Old Market ward Vice & Virtue (2014) and Black South West Network's Race Through the Generations (2016). Edson has maintained a parallel career as a poet, and a writer for theatre, radio and screen, for which his credentials include Armour of Immanuel (2007), the Chosen One (2009), Deacon (2017). A long standing associate of Bristol's Watershed Cinema Edson has curated the highly regarded Afrofuturist season (2014) which formed part of the BFI'S Fear and Wonder Sci-Fi season. He was writer / curator of the Bristol Old Vic / Colston Hall collaboration Frederick Douglass promenade. He is a board member of Afrika Eye and a Pervasive Media Studio resident.
Euella JacksonEuella Jackson is a presenter, film-maker and creative producer, working in Bristol. 2017 alumni of Rife Magazine, an online magazine and talent development programme for young content creators, Euella currently works with Rising Arts Agency to help underrepresented young creatives take up space, leadership and strategic decision-making positions in the sector.
Ellah Wakatama AllfreyEllah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, is editor-at-large at Canongate Books. She was the founding publishing director of The Indigo Press and is former deputy editor at Granta magazine and former senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House. She has served as a judge on a number of prestigious literary prizes including the Man Booker, Dublin International Literary Award, Commonwealth Short Story Prize and The David Cohen Prize. She currently sits on the Advisory Council of Art for Amnesty and the advisory board of the Johannesburg Review of Books. She is Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing and a trustee of the Jalada Collective (Kenya) and The Royal Literary Fund.
Hanna AliHanna Ali is a writer, Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate at SOAS, University of London where she specialises in Afro-Arab identity. Hanna is a former Radio Presenter and was listed as number 4 in Buzz Feed’s “21 Black British Muslims You Should Know About” and was a part of ‘Trailblazing Muslim Women 2018’. She is the Festival Director for Somali Week Festival, which is a 10-day London based festival during London’s Black History Month in October. Her collection of Short Stories titled The Story of Us was published in October 2017. Twitter: @HannaAli.
HudeydiHudeydi is a Somali-British oud player, singer and composer. Known as the ‘King’, Hudeydi learned the oud from Abdullahi Qarshe, the ‘Father of Somali music’. He played in Somalia during the 1950s and 1960s, before being exiled to the UK in the 1970s where he continues to pass on the musical tradition to a new generation of Somalis.
Dr Jama Musse JamaDr Jama Musse Jama is an ethnomathematician with a PhD in African Studies specialising in Computational Linguistics of African Languages. He has authored and edited several books. Dr. Jama is known for his research on traditional African games and their potential for use within formal education. A cultural activist, historical researcher and a preserver of Somali oral histories, Dr. Jama is the founder of Hargeysa Cultural Centre and the influential Hargeysa International Book Fair. In 2018, he was the host of the 13th International Congress of Somali Studies International Association in Hargeysa. He is now the formal President of the Somali Studies International Association.
Jay BernardJay Bernard is the author of the collection Surge (2019), winner of the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry 2018. They have also published the pamphlets Your Sign is Cuckoo, Girl, English Breakfast and The Red and Yellow Nothing, which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award 2017. A film programmer at BFI Flare and an archivist at Statewatch, they also participated in ‘The Complete Works II’ project in 2014. Jay was a Foyle Young Poet of the Year in 2005 and a winner of SLAMbassadors UK spoken word championship.
Kemi AlemoruKemi Alemoru is the Features Editor at gal-dem. Starting at Dazed, her byline has since appeared in The Guardian, Time Magazine, BBC, Riposte, and Vice. She has interviewed Spike Lee, Emma Stone, and the cast of Black Panther; as well as cultural icons Naomi Campbell, Wu Tang Clan and Alicia Keys. She has also starred in videos on BBC 3, and hosted a current affairs radio show on Balamii, a youth-centred station. In the last year she contributed essays to two published books, Mother Country: Real Stories of the Windrush Children, and the upcoming gal-dem anthology, “I will not be erased”: Our stories growing up as people of colour.
Koleka PutumaKoleka Putuma is a poet and theatre practitioner who has taken the South African literary scene by storm with her debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia. Since its publication in 2017, the book is in its 9th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. She is a 2018 Forbes Africa Under 30 Honoree and recipient of the 2018 Imbewu Trust Scribe Playwriting Award.
Leone RossLeone Ross is a novelist, short story writer, editor, journalist and academic. Her fiction has been nominated for the Orange Prize, the V.S Pritchett award, Salt Publishing’s Scott Prize and the 2018 Jhalak Prize. Her short story collection Come Let Us Sing Anyway (Peepal Tree, 2017) was called ‘searingly compassionate’ by the Guardian. Ross teaches at Roehampton University in London.
Lesley Nneka ArimahLesley Nneka Arimah has been shortlisted for The Caine Prize for African Writing 2019 with her short story, “Skinned”. Lesley’s stories have been honored with a National Magazine Award, a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and an O. Henry Award. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, McSweeney’s, and Granta. She was also selected for the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35. Her debut collection, What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky, won the 2017 Kirkus Prize and the 2017 New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, among other honors. Arimah is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Writing. She lives in Las Vegas and is working on a novel about you.
Lily GreenLily Green started the creative publishing press No Bindings in 2016. As lead artist and director of No Bindings, Lily has brought together writers, artists, community groups and audio producers to create multimedia publications and projects both locally and internationally. She is a resident of the Pervasive Media Studio and a member of Rising’s Whose Culture steering group. Lily is the senior developer of The Dare to Write Library, a creative writing workshop for children. Before moving to Bristol she was studying Modern Languages (Portuguese and Spanish) at the University of Oxford and spent time living in Recife (Brazil) and Madrid (Spain).
Liz ChegeLiz Chege is a film programmer and curator. She is currently the programme producer of ‘No Direct Flight’, a cross-media exploration of global African diaspora moving-image makers that looks at how the internet and digital world has shaped diaspora cultures and aesthetics. Twitter: @elchronicle
Liz MyttonLiz Mytton is a Bristol-based playwright, poet and coach. Red Snapper, her first full-length play, was runner-up for the 2016 Alfred Fagon Audience Award. Liz regularly works with Talking Birds Theatre Company, writing The Female Warrior and Backstage at the Albany (2017), and producing the lyrics for their Canal Song Project and the Walk with Me Tour (2018). Along with members of the BS13 community, Liz developed Southside Stories, which premiered at the Tobacco Factory in February 2019. Currently, she is working on a series of plays for General Public (Birmingham) and the Christmas show for the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (Stratford on Avon).
Lynn ThomasLynn Thomas originally trained as a social worker and psychologist before embarking on her acting career. She then studied theatre at City of Bristol College and the Bristol Acting Academy/Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Since joining the acting profession, just over seven years ago, she has appeared across feature films, television series, stage productions, commercials, short films, corporate training videos and voice-overs. Her stage work has included 'Dead Girl Walking' and 'The Cheltonians by Jane Austen'.
Malaika KegodeMalaika Kegode is a poet and performer based in Bristol. She has performed around the UK at a number of celebrated venues, festivals and poetry events. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Out-Spoken Poetry Prize. In 2018, Malaika was included in the The BME Power List, celebrating Bristol’s 100 most influential black & minority ethnic people. Malaika’s work tells of how we can find beauty and hope through the darkness. Her overall themes of family, mental health, addiction and love always have an undercurrent of optimism and strength. Her debut poetry collection Requite was published by Burning Eye Books in 2017.
Margaret Busby OBEMargaret Busby OBE was born in Ghana and educated in Britain. She co-founded Allison & Busby, publishing C.L.R. James, Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah amongst many others, and became Director of Earthscan. She has judged literary awards, including the Caine, Baileys and Commonwealth prizes, served on the boards of PEN, Wasafiri and the Royal Literary Fund, and collected many honours including the 2015 Henry Swanzy Award.
Miss DivineMiss Divine is a radio broadcaster, journalist, DJ and host from The Big City of Bristol UK! Having hosted/DJ'd on many big stages across Bristol such as the St. Paul's Carnival, Veg Fest and Harbour Festival to name a few, her big passion and expertise always leads back to broadcasting on the: UJIMA98FM airwaves where she keeps Bristol well fed with alternative information along with the latest tune.
Momtaza MehriMomtaza Mehri is a poet, essayist and meme archivist. She is the co-winner of the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Her work has been widely anthologised and has appeared in Granta, Artforum, Poetry International, BBC Radio 4, Vogue and Real Life Mag. She is the former Young People’s Laureate for London and a columnist-in-residence at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Open Space. Her chapbook sugah lump prayer was published in 2017.
Nadifa MohamedNadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somalia in 1981 and studied History and Politics at St. Hilda's College, Oxford University. Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, won the Betty Trask Prize and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. In 2013 she was selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and in 2014 as one of Africa 39's Best of Young African Novelists. Her second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, was published in 2013 and won a Somerset Maugham Prize and the Prix Albert Bernard. She teaches Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Namwali SerpellNamwali Serpell is a Zambian writer who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for women writers in 2011 and was selected for the Africa 39, a 2014 Hay Festival project to identify the best African writers under 40. Her first published story, ‘Muzungu,’ was selected for The Best American Short Stories 2009 and shortlisted for the 2010 Caine Prize for African writing. She won the 2015 Caine Prize for her story ‘The Sack.’ The Old Drift is her first novel.
Nick MakohaNick Makoha - His debut collection Kingdom of Gravity was shortlisted for the 2017 Forward Best First Collection. The Guardian named it one of the best books of 2017. The 2019 Writer-in-Residence for The Wordsworth Trust and Wasafiri. Winner of The Brunel Poetry Prize and Toi Derricotte-Cornelius Eady Prize for Resurrection Man. His poems appeared in Poetry Review, New York Times, Rialto, Poetry London, Triquarterly, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri.
Nikesh ShuklaNikesh Shukla is the author of three novels. His latest, The One Who Wrote Destiny was published in 2018. His debut novel, Coconut Unlimited, was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010 and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize 2011, and his second novel, Meatspace, was critically acclaimed. He is the editor of the essay collection The Good Immigrant, in which 21 British writers of colour discuss race and immigration in the UK. It was a national bestseller and won the Books Are My Bag People’s Choice Award and was shortlisted for the Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Follow up The Good Immigrant USA, which he edited with Chimene Suleyman, was published in 2019. He is also the co-founder of the literary journal, The Good Journal and The Good Literary Agency.
Ros MartinRos Martin is an award-winning playwright, digital artist, poet, activist, author and feminist, of Nigerian & St Lucian parentage. Her literary practice, often collaborative, brings to the fore narratives that counter the silence, marginalisation and memory of black African peoples’ histories, lives and culture. She was producer of DAUGHTERS OF IGBO WOMAN 2017, a transnational digital film collaboration with Akachi Ezeigbo (Nigeria) and Vida Rawlins (St Kitts & Nevis). She was playwright on RETURN OF THE VANISHING PEASANT 2013 developed in collaboration with philosopher Prof Denise Ferreira da Silva. She is co-Author of Speaking out (1994 with Chrissie Whitehead).
Sade FadipeSade Fadipe is the author of A Fun ABC published by Cassava Republic Press in 2016 with amazing illustrations by Shedrach Ayalomeh. Since pursuing post-graduate Education at London Southbank University, she now spends part of her time writing multicultural content for schools and sharing her published work. A Fun ABC is a uniquely diverse alphabet recounted, blended into a story. The book has a rare approach that invokes rhyme and rhythm.
Sharmaine LovegroveSharmaine Lovegrove has over twenty years’ experience working with storytelling in a variety of different ways. She is the former Literary Editor at Elle, Co-Founder of Film & TV Adaptations Consultant, Dialogue Scouting and has owned a bookshop in Berlin where she established a network of English-language publishing and reading. Follow her on Twitter @SharLovegrove
Shaun WoodShaun is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work runs the gamut of the performance arts. He likes to keep himself busy with as many mediums as he can; acting, singing, playing the piano, writing, composing, sound design and directing both theatre and film. He has taken a clowning play to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; won the first Bristol Film Our City 90 Second Short Film Competition (in his film directing debut) and developed the initial drafts of a sitcom about therapists.
Tjawangwa DemaTjawangwa Dema is a Motswana poet, educator and arts administrator. Her collection The Careless Seamstress won the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry. Her chapbook Mandible was selected for the African Poetry Book Fund’s New-Generation African Poets series. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has given readings and taught workshops in over twenty countries. Her poems have been translated into languages including Spanish, Chinese, German and Swedish. She lives in Bristol and works as a writer and literary events producer.
Victoria Adukwei BulleyVictoria Adukwei Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet, writer and filmmaker. A former Barbican Young Poet, her work has appeared in The Poetry Review, Ambit and The Chicago Review, in addition to featuring on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. In 2016 she was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She won an Eric Gregory Award in 2018, and has held artistic residencies internationally in the US, Brazil and the V&A Museum.
Wanjeri GakuruWanjeri Gakuru is a freelance journalist, essayist and filmmaker living and working in Nairobi. She co-wrote Kenyan feature films Supa Modo (2018) and Lusala(2019). Her directorial debut, the mockumentary short film, Get Laid premiered at the Mzalendo edition of Shorts, Shorts and Shots Festival in partnership with NBO Film Festival (2019). In 2018, she was appointed Literary Ambassador for Nairobi by Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and the Managing Editor of Pan-African writers’ collective, Jalada Africa. In 2017, she served as Festival Producer during the Collective’s inaugural Jalada Mobile Literary and Arts Festival covering Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DRC and Rwanda (2017). Find more of her work at www.wanjeri.com
Zaahida Mariam NabagerekaZaahida Mariam Nabagereka is a doctoral researcher in African languages and cultures at SOAS, her research focuses on the politics of language and it's impact on literature production in Uganda. In 2014 Zaahida co-founded Afrikult., a literary organisation seeking to widen access to African literatures. Afrikult. devises and facilitates workshops with young people nationally and internationally.