Abdilatif Abdalla is a renowned poet, academic and political activist. Abdalla became well-known only after his term in prison for his publication entitled ‘Kenya: Twendapi?’ (Kenya: Where are we going?). Whilst in prison, he wrote on toilet paper to begin a collection of poetry, which would later be published as the famous work Sauti ya Dhiki (Voice of Agony) in 1973. Abdalla has worked in London and Leipzig as an academic, translator, and teacher. He has been involved in a multitude of translation and editing projects, including novels, historic Swahili poetry and critical academic works. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45 and African Books to Inspire, Saturday 2 July, 12:00-13:30.
Abdul Adan is a Somalia-Kenyan writer, author of ‘The Lifebloom Gift’ published in The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories: The Caine Prize for African Writing 2014, and shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2016. His work has appeared in African magazines Kwani, Jungle Jim, Gambit, Okike, Storytime, SCARF and elsewhere. He was a participant in the 2014 Caine Prize workshop in Zimbabwe, and is a founding member of the Jalada collective. He tweets @Adanievsky At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Caine Prize Reading Group Event Saturday 2 July 10:30 - 12:00 and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, 16:30 – 18:00.
Adam Lowe (AKA Beyonce Holes) is a writer, performer and publisher from Manchester via Leeds. Adam is mixed race and genderfluid, and often plays with boundaries, expectations and form. Adam was LGBT History Month Poet Laureate and has held writing residencies at a number of theatres, festivals and institutions. Adam is not fussy about pronouns, but uses both male and female pronouns freely. He tweets @adambeyoncelowe. At Africa Writes 2016 s/he appears in Sex, Love & Poetry, Friday 1 July, 18:30-20:00. http://bit.ly/sexlovepoetry
Afrikult. is an online literary platform formed by three friends and colleagues (Marcelle Akita, Henry Brefo and Zaahida Nalumoso) who are passionate about using virtual and physical spaces where people can engage, discuss and celebrate the diversity of African literature. They tweet @Afrikult. At Africa Writes 2016 they are collaborators for the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45, and are delivering the workshop Writing Africa: 50 years, Sunday 3 July, 14:00 - 16:30.
Ailah Ahmed is a commissioning editor at Little, Brown Book Group. She works across two imprints: Little, Brown/Abacus and Virago. Ailah acquires fiction and non-fiction as well as works in translation. She has held editorial positions at Simon & Schuster and Canongate Books (where she published the Man Booker-shortlisted A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki). She tweets @ailahahmed. AW2016: Meet the Publishers
Aki Schilz is the Editorial Services Manager at The Literary Consultancy, the UK’s longest-established editorial consultancy, founded in 1996. At TLC, manages a team of 90 editors and mentors. She is co-founder of the #LossLit Twitter writing project with publisher Kit Caless, and co-editor of LossLit Magazine. Aki’s poetry, flash fiction, short stories and creative non-fiction have been published in various magazines, online and in print. She tweets books, editing and publishing at @TLCUK, and micropoetry at @AkiSchilz.
James Copnall is the BBC Africa Editor. He is the author of A Poisonous Thorn in our Hearts: Sudan and South Sudan’s Bitter and Incomplete Divorce. He was the BBC correspondent in Sudan and South Sudan from 2009 to 2012, and was previously the BBC correspondent in Côte d’Ivoire and Morocco. He tweets @JamesCopnall. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability, Saturday 2 July, 12:00 – 13:15.
After an academic career at the Universities of Ghana, Leeds and Stirling, Alastair Niven became Director General of the Africa Centre for six years, whilst at the same time teaching an MA course on African literature at SOAS. He then moved to the Arts Council of Great Britain (later Arts Council England) as Director of Literature for ten years, before holding the same post at the British Council. He was Principal of Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, from 2001 to 2013. He was a judge of the Booker Prize in 1994 and of the Man Booker Prize in 2014 and was for twenty years Chairman of the Commonwealth Writers Prize Advisory Committee.
Bernardine Evaristo is the award-winning author of seven books and numerous other published and produced works that span the genres of fiction, poetry, verse fiction, short fiction, essays, literary criticism, and radio and theatre drama. She is also an editor of anthologies and special issues of magazines. Her latest novel, Mr Loverman, is about a 74 year old Caribbean London man who is closet homosexual (Hamish Hamilton/Penguin, 2013 & Akashic Books, USA, 2014). She is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London. She tweets @BernardineEvari. At Africa Writes 2016 she is delivering a Royal Society of Literature Booker Prize Foundation Masterclass on Writing a Novel, Saturday 2 July, 14:00-17:00.
Bhavit Mehta has worked as a publisher, translator and festival director. He studied Biological Sciences and worked at UCL before entering the world of children’s books in 2009, writing and publishing tales from India. Between 2010 and 2014 Bhavit co-directed the South Asian Literature Festival in London. He is currently based at the Commonwealth Foundation, and was previously at the British Council. Bhavit has a personal interest in stories from around the world and using storytelling as a tool to improve literacy. He tweets @bhavitmehta. At Africa Writes 2016 he will be chairing the session “There’s no such thing as a Black Princess”: Diversity in Children’s Publishing, Saturday 2 July, 14:15 – 15:30.
Bibi Bakare Yusuf is founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s leading publishing houses, Cassava Republic Press www.cassavarepublic.biz. She is also an independent scholar with a PhD in Women and Gender Studies from the University of Warwick and is a board member of The Initiative of Equal Rights, the leading sexual minority rights organisation in Nigeria. Cassava Republic tweets @CassavaRepublic. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in “There’s no such thing as a Black Princess”: Diversity in Children’s Publishing, Saturday 2 July, 14:15 – 15:30.
Bisi Alimi is a Nigerian gay rights activist, public speaker, blogger, HIV/LGBT advocate and Aspen Institute Fellow. He gained international attention when he became the first Nigerian to come out on national television. Now based in London, he consults with the World Bank, writes for outlets like The Guardian and Project Syndicate, and has been profiled by international media including the BBC World Service, Washington Post and NPR. He is the co-founder of Rainbow Intersection, a dialogue about race, culture and sexuality in Britain and the Executive Director of Bisi Alimi Foundation. He tweets @bisialimi. At Africa Writes 2016, he is hosting Sex, Love & Poetry, Friday 1 July, 18:30-20:00. http://bit.ly/sexlovepoetry
Bongani Kona is from Zimbabwe, and author of ‘At your Requiem’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You, shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2016. Bongani Kona is a freelance writer and contributing editor of Chimurenga. His writing has appeared in Mail & Guardian, Rolling Stone (South Africa), Sunday Times and other publications and websites. He is also enrolled as a Masters student in the Creative Writing department at the University of Cape Town. He tweets @bongani_kona. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Caine Prize Reading Group Event Saturday 2 July 10:30 - 12:00 and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, 16:30 – 18:00.
Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire
Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire is currently an MSc Fellow in Security, Leadership and Development at the African Leadership Centre. He is the co-founder of Writivism, a pan-African literary initiative of the Centre for African Cultural Excellence. He has in the recent past taught Law and Human Rights at various Ugandan universities. He tweets @bwesigye. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability, Saturday 2 July, 12:00 – 13:15.
Caleb Femi is a poet, English teacher and filmmaker. He is also a member of the SXWKS collective. Lately, Caleb has exhibited two cross-arts show 'Still Dreaming' at the Edinburgh Fringe and 'There Is A Place' at the Camden People's Theatre. His works are often described as vivid and honestly delivered with an essence of musicality. He tweets @CalebFemi5. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in Sex, Love & Poetry, Friday 1 July, 18:30-20:00. http://bit.ly/sexlovepoetry
Chege Githiora is senior lecturer in the Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa at SOAS, University of London. He has published scholarly books and articles, as well as fiction, in Swahili, Gῖkũyũ, English and Spanish. Among his publications is the first ever Diccionario Swahili- Español (El Colegio de Mexico, 2002). Chege believes in building bridges across African languages and cultures, and in bringing the best of African writing to the rest of the world, through translation.
Chuma Nwokolo was called to the bar in 1984. He worked for the Legal Aid Council and was managing partner of the C&G Chambers, Lagos. He was writer-in-residence of the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford. He is a public speaker and publisher of African Writing Magazine. His books include the novel, Diaries of a Dead African, the poetry collections Memories of Stone & The Final Testament of a Minor God, and the anthologies The Ghost of Sani Abacha & How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories (Vol 1.). He tweets @chumanwokolo. At Africa Writes 2016 he will launch his book How To Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories, vol. 2, Sunday 3 July, 13:45 – 14:15.
Damola Adelaja is a Nigerian born, British actor who trained at RADA. His theatre includes The Crossing (Theatre 503); A Raisin In The Sun (Royal Exchange Manchester, MEN Theatre Awards Best Production); Ruined (Almeida Theatre); Junun Dementia, Slave (Lowry Theatre Manchester); and Fixer (Oval House Theatre). He is also known for Kevin Allen's Welsh period fantasy Y Syrcas (2013). He plays Usman in the closing performance of The Immigrant.
Edmund Wiseman graduated from RADA in 2009. He was immediately cast in 'Macbeth' by Declan Donnellan and toured nationally and internationally with Cheek by Jowl from 2009 to 2011. He then performed ‘For Alphonso’ for Neil Bartlett at the Brighton festival in 2011 and ‘Beautiful Blows’ at the Royal Festival Hall. Edmund was recently seen playing ‘Harry Percy’ in the RSC production of Richard II directed by Gregory Doran at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford and at the Barbican. He plays Oliver in the closing performance of The Immigrant.
Eliza Anyangwe is a Cameroon-born, London-based freelance writer, editor and moderator. Her work, covering international development, culture and gender, has been published in The Guardian and CNN International. Eliza is also the founder of The Nzinga Effect, a new web publication and annual event to celebrate African women’s stories. She tweets @ElizaTalks. At Africa Writes 2016 she is chair for Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability, Saturday 2 July, 12:00 – 13:15.
Emma Dabiri is a social historian and broadcaster. She is a teaching fellow in the Africa department at SOAS. Emma writes regularly for the national media and is currently presenting the BBC 2 series 'Back in Time Brixton' exploring the history of post-1940s Black immigration to the UK. She tweets @TheDiasporaDiva. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability, Saturday 2 July, 12:00 – 13:15.
Emma Paterson has a BA in English Literature from Cambridge University and an MA in Gender Studies from SOAS. She worked for The Wylie Agency for two and a half years, before joining Rogers, Coleridge & White in 2013 to work for Peter Straus and Georgia Garrett. She became a full agent at RCW in 2016.
Fatimah Kelleher is a Nigerian and Irish-British women’s rights and social development professional involved in equalities and feminist activism, policy, and programming. She works and publishes at the international level on gender issues in education, economic empowerment/justice, and health, primarily across Africa, with a focus on northern Nigeria whenever possible. Her articles can be found in the Guardian, openDemocracy, and African Arguments. She also writes on diaspora issues, literature and the arts, is a scribbler of verse, and has been an “on-and-off” performance poet for the last twenty years. She tweets @fatimahkelleher. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability, Saturday 2 July, 12:00 – 13:15.
Frances Mensah Williams
Frances Mensah Williams is a writer, coach and consultant. Born in Ghana, Frances is the author of the novels From Pasta to Pigfoot and From Pasta to Pigfoot: Second Helpings. The Managing Editor of careers and business website, ReConnect Africa.com, she writes extensively on issues relating to careers and the African diaspora. Her non-fiction publications include Everyday Heroes – Learning from the Careers of Successful Black Professionals and I Want to Work in Africa: How to Move Your Career to the World’s Most Exciting Continent.
Geoff Ryman has won 15 awards for his science fiction, including the Nebula Award, and the Arthur C Clarke Award (twice). He is the author of the series 100 African Writers of Non Realistic Fiction, appearing at the SFF website Tor.com; research for the series funded by the Leverhulme Trust. He administers the 740-member African Fantasy Reading Group page on Facebook and teaches at the University of Manchester. In London and Manchester he helps organize the African Reading Groups (ARG!). He tweets @GeoffRyman. At Africa Writes 2016 he will be in conversation with Nikhil Singh for the launch of his book Taty Went West, Sunday 3 July, 16:00 – 16:30.
Lecture on Swahili Language, Literature and Translation at SOAS, University of London. PhD on Norms of Swahili Translation. Recent publication are ‘the integration of Swahili speakers in Britain’ and translation of Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland into Alisi ndani ya nchi ya ajabu.
Inua Ellams is an award winning poet who was born in Nigeria. He is the playwright & founder of the Midnight Run. His first play, The 14th Tale, was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his third, Black T-Shirt Collection, ran at the National Theatre. Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in his work in which he tries mixing the old with the new, the traditional with the contemporary. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic and Oberon. He tweets @InuaEllams. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the pre-festival event Stories of Migration & Displacement, Monday 27 June, CR 9, Houses of Parliament, 18:00 - 20:00
Jacob Sam-La Rose
Jacob Sam-La Rose writes, performs and makes literature projects happen. He's celebrated as an indefatigable facilitator of international renown, and his poetry has been described as "vivid, masterly and carefully structured." At Africa Writes 2016 he will deliver the workshop Writers Behaving Badly for 18-25 year olds, Friday 1 July, 13:30 - 15:30.
Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor is a Nigerian-born writer who graduated from Queen Mary, University of London with a BA in Film Studies and subsequently completed an MA in Creative Writing in Films, Plays and TV from City University, London. A reading of her first full-length play Sunday that was developed at Theatre Royal Stratford East was performed at Africa Writes 2015. Aside from writing, she is also an award-winning film producer. Her new play The Immigrant will be performed at Africa Writes 2016 on Sunday 3 July, 17:30 - 19:30.
Kama Sywor Kamanda
Kama Sywor Kamanda was born in the Congo, and has published his first collection of stories in 1967 when he was 15. He co-founded the Union of Congolese Writers but fled Mobutu’s Congo in 1977. He was founding president of the African Association of Writers of which Lépold Sédar Senghor was the honorary president. His works – 4 novels, 10 collections of poetry have been widely translated, and earning him many prizes such as the Black Africa Grand Prize for Literature, the Louise Labé Prize, Théophile Gautier prizes. In 2005, the International Council for Francophone Studies conferred upon him the prestigious Maurice-Cagnon Certificate of Honour, for his unique contribution to literature. At Africa Writes 2016 he will launch his books The Prince Muntu, Amana – The Child Who Was a God & Tales of Kamanda, Saturday 2 July, 15:45 – 16:15 and will appears in “There’s no such thing as a Black Princess”: Diversity in Children’s Publishing, Saturday 2 July, 14:15 – 15:30.
Kayo Chingonyi is the author of two books of poetry with a third forthcoming from Chatto & Windus in 2017. He was Associate Poet at the ICA and is now poet-in-residence on a joint project between Royal Holloway, University of London and Counterpoints Arts. He tweets @KayoChingonyi. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the pre-festival event Stories of Migration & Displacement, Monday 27 June, CR 9, Houses of Parliament, 18:00 - 20:00.
Kinsi Abdulleh is a visual artist, editor and educator. She is the founder of NUMBI Arts, a London based cross arts and cross cultural non-profit organisation. Rooted in contemporary Somali film, arts and literature, NUMBI Arts is an open archive and on-going forum for shared disaporic experience. Kinsi is the editor and publisher of the literary arts magazine SCARF. Her work as an artist educator focuses on social justice, histories and the female voice. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in the Translation Symposium.
Lánre Njoku has toured Canada, France, NYC and Sweden. She has also taken her unique sound of Acoustic Soul, Folk and captivating storytelling influenced by her Yoruba heritage, to the Royal Albert Hall, Greenbelt Festival, Edinburgh Fringe, Bath Music Festival, Folkstock Festival, Musicport Festival and the Brighton Fringe among others. Two years after the release of her critically acclaimed EP Home, the British singer, songwriter has come out with her 3rd record ‘Human’ a 4-song EP of uplifting songs which encapsulates the message and depth of Lánre’s artistry. Lánre currently curates a monthly residency at the Omnibus in Clapham Common.
Lesley Nneka Arimah
Lesley Nneka Arimah is a Nigerian writer living in Minneapolis, and author of ‘What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky’ published in Catapult (2015), and shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2016. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s and other publications. When she isn't spreading peace and joy on Twitter, Arimah is at work on a collection of short stories (What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky) forthcoming in 2017 from Riverhead Books. There are rumours about a novel. She tweets @larimah. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Caine Prize Reading Group Event Saturday 2 July 10:30 - 12:00 and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, 16:30 – 18:00.
Leye Adenle is a Nigerian author who has written a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces. He has appeared on stage in London in plays including Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again. Leye comes from a family of writers, the most famous of whom was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South West Nigeria. Leye’s first novel, Easy Motion Tourist, a crime thriller set in Lagos is published by Cassava Republic Press. He tweets @LeyeAdenle. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in Boiling a Great Plot: Contemporary Genre Fiction, Sunday 3 July, 14:30 – 15:45.
Lidudumalingani is author of shortlisted Caine Prize story: ‘Memories we Lost’ published in Incredible Journey: Stories That Move You, and shortlisted for the Caine Prize in 2016. Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. He was born in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, in a village called Zikhovane. Lidudumalingani has published short stories, non-fiction and criticism in various publications. His films have been screened at various film festivals. He tweets @Lidudumalingani. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Caine Prize Reading Group Event Saturday 2 July 10:30 - 12:00 and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, 16:30 – 18:00.
Lisa Highton was publishing director for Hachette Australia (1993-2005) where she published authors as varied as Azar Nafisi, James McBride and Augusten Burroughs, before returning to the UK in 2005. Always interested in strong narrative in both fiction and non-fiction, Two Roads was launched five years ago with the theme of ‘stories voices places lives’ to publish 12 distinctive books a year. Recent titles include Ruby by Cynthia Bond (shortlisted for the Baileys Prize) and Arab of the Future by Riad Sattouf. She tweets @TwoRoadsBooks. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in Meet the Publishers.
Louisa Bello is an Nigerian- English ESL teacher, writer and blogger for amazingafrica.planetfem.com. She is also a children's storyteller and a trustee for the children's book charity, The Pelican Post. She tweets @LouisaBello
Louisa Uchum Egbunike
Louisa Uchum Egbunike is a lecturer in English at Manchester Metropolitan University. She completed her PhD at SOAS, University of London, where she has also lectured in Contemporary African Literature. In 2016 she was selected from hundreds of applications to be one of the BBC's New Generation Thinkers. Louisa is currently working on a multifaceted project which reflects on the legacies of the Biafra war. She is one of the founders and conveners of the Annual International Igbo Conference at SOAS. At Africa Writes 2016, she appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium.
Marie-‐Pierre Bouchard is a SSHRC post-‐doctoral fellow at the French Marie-‐Pierre Bouchard Department of the University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. from the Université du Québec à Montréal's Faculty of Art in 2015 and has been a Vanier Scholar since 2010. Her researches mainly focus on the emergence, integration and canonization mechanisms of peripheral literatures in the World literary system and are influenced by the law and literature critical movement.
Michelle Tiwo is an actor, poet and spoken word educator, mostly known for her role as Olivia in critically-acclaimed web series, Ackee & Saltfish. A member of the Barbican Young Poets, she has received commissions from venues including the Royal College of Art, Centre for Caribbean & Diaspora Studies and the Floating Showroom. As well as developing empowerment workshops for young women of colour, she is presently an assistant facilitator for the Barbican Junior Poets. At Africa Writes 2016 she will be facilitating a schools workshop on Proverbs and Poetry.
Nadia Davids is a South Africa writer, theatre-maker and scholar. Her plays At Her Feet, Cissie and What Remains have been staged throughout Southern Africa and in Europe. Her 2014 debut novel An Imperfect Blessing was long-listed for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Award and shortlisted for the UJ Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. She is lectures at QMUL and is the recipient of a Philip Leverhulme Prize for her research. She tweets @Nadia_Davids1. At Africa Writes 2016 she will chair the launch of The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso, Saturday 2 July, 13:30-14:00, and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, Saturday 2 July, 16:30 – 18:00.
Nawal El Saadawi
Nawal El Saadawi is an internationally renowned Egyptian writer, novelist, psychiatrist and fighter for women’s rights was born in 1931, in a village outside Cairo, and wrote her first novel at the age of 13. Her many books have been translated into over forty languages and include titles such as Woman at Point Zero and Women and Sex, which was banned in Egypt for almost two decades. She is founder and president of the Arab Women's Solidarity Association and co-founder of the Arab Association for Human Rights. She has been awarded honorary degrees on three continents. She tweets @NawalElSaadawi1. She headlines Africa Writes 2016 on Saturday 2 July, 18:30 – 20:00.
Nikhil Singh is an artist who has illustrated the graphic novels: The Ziggurat (Bell-Roberts 2003) by The Constructus Corporation (now Die Antwoord) and Salem Brownstone with writer John Harris Dunning (Walker Books 2009). He has also recently written and directed a feature length film Trillzone (2014), which was commissioned by and screened at the South African National Arts festival as part of a JG Ballard symposium. Taty Went West is his first novel, and will have its UK launch at Africa Writes 2016, Sunday 3 July, 16:00 – 16:30.
Onyekachi Wambu is Director of the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), a UK based charity with a mission to expand and enhance the contributions the diaspora make to Africa’s development. Onyekachi has appeared as an expert contributor on migration and development issues to numerous high level panels and forums. Educated at the University of Essex, and Sewlyn College, Cambridge, Onyekachi worked previously as a print and broadcast journalist for BBC and Channel Four. He has written extensively on Africa and her diaspora. His edited publications include ‘Empire Windrush – 50 Years of Writing about Black Britain’ and ‘Under the Tree of Talking - Leadership for Change in Africa’. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium.
Rachel Long was born in London, in 1988, to a Nigerian-Sierra Leonean mother, and a British father. She holds an MA in Creative and Life Writing from Goldsmiths University, London. Her poems have featured in Magma, The Honest Ulsterman, and The London Magazine. She was awarded a Jerwood/Arvon Mentorship in February 2015, and for a year, worked closely with Caroline Bird. She was shortlisted for Young Poet Laureate for London in 2014. Rachel is the Assistant Tutor to Jacob Sam-La Rose on the Barbican Young Poets programme, and is the founder and leader of Octavia: Poetry Collective for Women of Colour, housed at Southbank Centre. She tweets @rachelnalong. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in Sex, Love & Poetry, Friday 1 July, 18:30-20:00. http://bit.ly/sexlovepoetry
Razia Iqbal is one of the main presenters of Newshour, the flagship current affairs programme on BBC World Service Radio She also regularly presents The World Tonight on Radio 4. She has reported from all over the world, most recently the US at the start of the Presidential election. She was the BBC's arts correspondent for nearly a decade. And also until recently, presented Talking Books, a half hour in depth conversation on BBC World TV with leading writers and it was for that programme, that she last spoke to Nawal el Sadaawi in Cairo. At Africa Writes 2016 she will be in conversation with Nawal El Saadawi on Saturday 2 July, 18:30.
Rebecca Jones received her PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2014, for her research on Nigerian travel writing in Yoruba and English. She currently works as a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, and is an editor of the blog AfricaInWords.com. She tweets @rebeccasenoj
Robtel Neajai Pailey
Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author. Her anti-corruption children's book, Gbagba, was published by One Moore Book in 2013 to critical acclaim and has been placed on the supplemental list of readers for 3rd to 5th graders in Liberia. Robtel's writing has also been published in the Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, the New York Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera English, African Arguments and New African Magazine amongst many others.
Image Credit: Kate Lloyd
Image Credit: Kate Lloyd
Roland Glasser translates literary and genre fiction from French, as well as art, travel, and assorted non-fiction. He studied theatre, cinema, and art history in the UK and France, and has worked extensively in the performing arts, chiefly as a lighting designer. His translation of Fiston Mwanza Mujila’s Tram 83 won the Etisalat Prize for Literature and was nominated for the Man Booker International Prize and the Best Translated Book Award. Having lived in Paris for many years, he is currently based in London. He tweets @rolandglasser. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45.
SA Smythe is a Black genderqueer writer currently living in London and completing a PhD in History of Consciousness. SA Smythe is the publishing editor for THEM, associate editor for Scarf, and was former Reviews Editor for Critical Contemporary Culture Journal and contributing curator/writer at okayafrica. SA does translation work in six languages and organises in queer of colour, feminist, and abolitionist writing collectives around the world. They tweet @essaysmythe. At Africa Writes 2016 they appear in the Africa in Translation Symposium and Sex Love and Poetry on Friday 1 July. http://bit.ly/sexlovepoetry
Sarah Ladipo Manyika
Sarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and teaches literature at San Francisco State University. Her writing includes essays, academic papers, reviews and short stories. Sarah’s first novel, In Dependence, is published by Legend Press (London) and Cassava Republic Press (Abuja-London). Her second novel, Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun is published by Cassava Republic Press (Abuja-London). At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in African Books to Inspire, Saturday 12:00-13:30.
Sarah Odedina has worked in publishing for over two decades most of that time in the area of books for young readers. She has worked for Penguin Books, Orchard Book, Bloomsbury and Bonnier publishing. She is now Editor-at-Large for Pushkin Press. Sarah is also the founder of the online magazine The Read Quarterly which takes a critical look at the world of children's literature. She tweets @sarahodedina and @thereadq. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in “There’s no such thing as a Black Princess”: Diversity in Children’s Publishing.
Scott Newman is a PhD student in the Comparative Literary Studies Program at Northwestern University (Chicago, USA) where he is also a Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow in African Studies. Originally from Zimbabwe, Scott has a BA in English and French (Oxford Brookes) and an MSt in World Literatures in English (Oxford). His research interests encompass postcolonial and transnational studies, narrative and critical theory, and African literatures in English, French, and Portuguese (especially the novel).
Scott Pack was head of buying for Waterstones for six years before becoming a publisher. He spent eight years heading up The Friday Project, an imprint of HarperCollins. He is now Associate Editor at Unbound, the world’s first crowdfunding platform for books and recently co-founded the digital imprint, Abandoned Bookshop.
Dr Shirley J Thompson
Shirley J. Thompson is a renowned and award-winning English composer of Jamaican descent. She is the first woman in Europe to have composed and conducted a symphony in over 40 years. A noted cultural activist, she has frequently highlighted issues of social justice and little known African/Caribbean narratives through her work. Thompson’s co-scored ballet, PUSH, has been premiered in over 40 of the world’s major opera houses and she composed New Nation Rising: A London Story for Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee.
Toni Stuart is a South African poet, performer and spoken word educator. Her work has been published in anthologies, journals and non-fiction books locally and abroad. Her performances include, a group show at the Paris Autumn Festival 2013 (as part of France South Africa Seasons 2012/2013), poetry installation Here To Listen (London, 2015), poetry & film exhibition From My View with filmmaker Shelley Barry (South Africa, 2013); Stretching Silence with visual artist Firdous Hendricks (South Africa, 2013); sound installation Between Words and Images with curator & visual artist Ernestine White (South Africa, 2013). In 2014 was part of the Scottish Poetry Library’s Commonwealth Poets United exchange. Her work has been published in anthologies, journals and non-fiction books in South Africa and the United States of America. In 2013 she was named in the Mail and Guardian’s list of 200 inspiring Young South Africans. She has an MA Writer/Teacher (Distinction) from Goldsmiths, University of London, where she was a 2014/2015 Chevening Scholar. She tweets @nomadpoet. At Africa Writes 2016 she will perform an extract from her jazz poem 'Krotoa-Eva’s Suite' at the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45.
Tope Folarin is a Nigerian writer, and author of ‘Genesis’ published in Callaloo (Johns Hopkins University Press, USA, 2014). Tope Folarin won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013, and in 2014 he was named in the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 39. In addition, his work has been published in various anthologies and journals. He lives in Washington DC. He tweets @topefolarin. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the Caine Prize Reading Group Event Saturday 2 July 10:30 - 12:00 and the 2016 Caine Prize Conversation, 16:30 – 18:00.
Tricia Wombell is the founder of the blog Black Book News, which features book reviews and interviews with authors, alongside news and forthcoming events of interest for anyone with a passion for black literature. Since 2010 Tricia has been the co-ordinator of the Black Reading Group, now in its 15th year, and is a co-founder of the literary event Black Book Swap. She tweets at @Triciabbn and @BlackBookSwap. At Africa Writes 2016, she is hosting the Caine Prize Reading Group event on Saturday 2 July.
Véronique Tadjo is an academic, writer and artist. Born in Paris and raised in Côte d’Ivoire, she did most of her studies in Abidjan before earning a doctorate in Black American Literature and Civilization at the Sorbonne, Paris IV. She has written novels, poems and books for young people which she illustrates. Her work has been translated in many languages. Latest novel: Far from my father (University of Virginia Press, 2014). She shares her time between London and Abidjan. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45 and “There’s no such thing as a Black Princess”: Diversity in Children’s Publishing, Saturday 2 July, 14:15 – 15:30.
Victoria-Anne Bulley is a British-born Ghanaian poet and writer. A former member of the Barbican Young Poets, she has received commissions from venues including the Royal Academy of Arts, the Free Word Centre and the Southbank Centre. Presently an assistant facilitator for the Barbican Junior Poets, she is also producing a poetry translation and film project which centres female poets of African descent and their elders. She is a Complete Works Poetry mentee, and was shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize 2016. At Africa Writes 2016 she will be facilitating a schools workshop on Proverbs and Poetry.
Wangui wa Goro
Wangui wa Goro, founder and curator for SIDENSI has served as a public intellectual, translator, editor, writer, academic, social researcher and human rights campaigner in Africa and Europe over the last thirty years. She is also an editor and writer – her works include poetry, short stories, fiction and non-fiction. Wangui is in the process of publishing her book Mind the gap: Harnessing translation and traducture in knowledge management in development. She is the current president of the Association for the Promotion of translation in relation to Africa (ALTRAS) and sits on the Executive Committee of IATIS (International Association for translation and intercultural Studies). She is also the Co-convenor of the Women's Caucus of the African Studies Association. She tweets @wanguiwagoro. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in the Africa in Translation Symposium, Friday 1 July, 10:00-13:45.
Yewande Omotoso is an architect with a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel ‘Bomboy’ (Modjaji Books, 2011), was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize. Yewande was a 2013 Norman Mailer Fellow and a 2014 Etisalat Fellow. She was a 2015 Miles Morland Scholar. She tweets @yomotoso. Her second novel, The Woman Next Door (Chatto and Windus, 2016), will be launched in the UK at Africa Writes 2016, Saturday 2 July, 13:30-14:00. She also appears in African Books to Inspire, Saturday 2 July, 12:00-13:30, and will be delivering a creative writing workshop on Endings & Beginning, Sunday 3 July, 14:30 - 16:30.
Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo
Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo is an eLearning and information design expert, with a background in digital media and storytelling. Yvonne has combined her eLearning, Igbo language and digital media skills to finding practical solutions for learning the Igbo language. She is an Igbo Language contributor at TED conferences, and the first Igbo editor at Forvo.com, the world’s biggest pronunciation guide. Her children’s illustrated Igbo dictionary is due to be published late 2015. Yvonne is one of the conveners of the Annual Igbo Conference at SOAS.
Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed is a Nigerian researcher specialising in gender and urban development in African cities. She received her PhD from the London School of Economics in 2016, which explored the everyday lives of paid domestic workers in Lagos. She currently works as a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex. She is also the founder and editor of the African literary blog, bookshy; and the founder and curator of the Tumblr, African Book Covers. She tweets @bookshybooks.
Zainab Hemani is originally from Kenya, and speaks five languages: English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kiswahili (moderate) and Urdu. She can understand Kutchi but cannot speak it. Zainab received a BA and MA English Literature at Westminster University. She is currently a student and associate tutor at Birkbeck College, University of London. Her PhD is on contemporary African women’s fiction from a feminist and postcolonial perspective. In her free time, she is a mental health first aider, helping raise awareness and remove the stigma around mental health in her community. At Africa Writes 2016 she appears in Fresh Perspectives on African Literature, Friday 1 July, 14:00-15:30.
Zodwa Nyoni is a playwright and poet. She was announced as the 2014 Writer-in-Residence at the West Yorkshire Playhouse via the Channel 4 Playwrights' Scheme. Her play, ‘Boi Boi is Dead’ was shortlisted for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2015. Her current play, Nine Lives was filmed for BBC Arts Online, toured nationally and showcased at the Paris Fringe Festival in May 2016. She tweets @ZodwaNy. At Africa Writes 2016 he appears in the pre-festival event Stories of Migration & Displacement, Monday 27 June, CR 9, Houses of Parliament, 18:00 - 20:00.