About Africa Writes

Africa Writes festival is a biennial celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora, brought to you by the Royal African Society and presented in partnership with the British Library.

Africa Writes 2023 will take place at the British Library from Friday, 29 September to Sunday, 1 October.

This years theme is Intangible Heritage.

Africa Writes will present an exciting programme of book launches, workshops, and performances connecting UK audiences with both established and early career writers, exploring the theme of “Intangible Heritage”, to answer two questions:

  • What are the things that make us who we are that we can’t explain or put our fingers on?
  • What parts of our culture are known and felt without being said and how do they manifest in our stories?

Launched in 2012, Africa Writes showcases established and emerging talent from the African continent and its diaspora in what is now the UK’s biggest celebration of contemporary African writing taking place over an exciting summer weekend. The festival features book launches, readings, author appearances, panel discussions, family workshops, and other activities. Our previous headline speakers have been Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ngugi wa Thiong’o with son Mukoma wa Ngugi, Wole Soyinka, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ben Okri, Nawal El Saadawi, Alain Mabanckou, Chigozie Obioma, Mona Elthahawy and Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah.

About the Royal African Society (RAS)

The RAS is a membership organisation that provides opportunities for people to connect, celebrate and engage critically with a wide range of topics and ideas about Africa today. Through our events, publications and digital channels we facilitate mutual understanding between the UK and Africa across academia, business, politics, culture and education. We amplify African voices and interests, reaching a network of more than one million people globally.

About our Partners

Africa Writes is organised by the Royal African Society in partnership with a host of like-minded organisations and individuals. Africa Writes 2022 is organised in partnership with the British Library, Geraldine Connor Foundation, University of Leeds Centre for African Studies, Swindon Literature Festival and Birmingham Literature Festival, with support from Arts Council England and Flutterwave.

The British Library London and Boston Spa
The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection.

University Of Leeds and LUCAS
The University, established in 1904, is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. They are renowned globally for the quality of their teaching and research.
Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS) is an interdisciplinary centre that brings together scholars with an active interest in Africa from across different schools and faculties at the University of Leeds.

Swindon Festival of Literature
Established in 1994, Swindon Festival of Literature’s aim is to to help Swindon celebrate all that it has to offer, and to offer all that it has to celebrate, in the arts. Spoken and written word, authors, talks, discussions, workshops, dance, drama, music, film, and circus performances are all celebrated and l at the heart of the festival.

Birmingham Literature Festival
The Birmingham Literature Festival is a project of Writing West Midlands, the literature development agency for the region. ​Taking place every year in October, it is a leading festival in the Midlands, showcasing the very best writers, speakers, thinkers, activists and artists from the UK and across the world.

Thank you to our 2022 festival partners British Library, Afro Queer Studios, Arvon, Brittle Paper, Cassava Republic, Deaffest, Dialogue Books, Harper Collins, Kaduna Books and Arts Festival, KINFolk, Knights Of_, London Writers’ Salon, Nataal, Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra and Saqi Books

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