The Africa Writes London 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:
Marcelle Mateki Akita is the Producer for Africa Writes. She is a freelance writer, producer and literature programmer. Her fiction has appeared in magazines and literary journals such as Aké Review, AFREADA and Writivism’s Unbreakable Bonds anthology. Her collection ‘Lizard and Other Stories’ was published in December 2016, and she has two children’s books forthcoming with Hodder Education in September 2020. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Morland Writing Scholarship. She holds an MA in African Studies from SOAS, University of London, majoring in literatures in African languages. She tweets at @matekiwrites.
Nancy Adimora is the Marketing Consultant for Africa Writes 2019. She is the Founding Editor of AFREADA, a publishing company focused on African storytelling, and has previously worked across editorial and corporate communications at HarperCollins Publishers. Originally from Nigeria, her interest in African stories and innovation led her to join the TEDxEuston organising team, where she has spent the past four years managing strategic partnerships. Nancy is also an independent consultant, working on a range of projects with companies including Twitter – most recently collaborating on a curation project aimed at Twitter users in Nigeria. Prior to working in publishing, Nancy started her career with the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. She holds an MSc in Leadership and International Development with the African Leadership Centre at King’s College London, and a Bachelor in Laws from Queen Mary, University of London. She tweets at @NancAdimora
Joanna Brown is the Education Programme Manager at the Royal African Society. 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.
Caitlin Pearson is the Fundraising Manager at the Royal African Society, working on Trusts & Foundations, Public Funding, Impact Partnerships and Individual Membership. She also works on Africa Writes festival. Her background is in higher education and scholarship – she previously worked in communications and events at the Centre for African Studies, based at 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 television, 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.
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
Adanech Tadesse is the Marketing and Production intern for Africa Writes 2019.
She is currently on the Public Relations team for the Ethiopian Sports and Culture Federation UK, and is the director of the Ethiopian Literature Festival 2020. Born in London to parents of Ethiopian descent, Adanech has worked closely with the Ethiopian Community in Britain, and has been a speaker at a series of panels discussing Ethiopian history, culture and identity. She is in her final year studying BA History and Development Studies at SOAS, University of London.
Tjawangwa Dema is a Bristol-based Motswana poet and co-producer of Africa Writes–Bristol 2019. Winner of the 2018 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, Dema is also an experienced literary producer & arts administrator. Having founded an arts management organisation that facilitated events, mentorship, archival and international exchange initiatives, she oversaw the establishment and launch of the Gaborone Public Library’s poetry reading room. She is former Chairperson of The Writers Association of Botswana and a founding member of the Exoduslivepoetry! collective, who coordinated Botswana’s sole annual poetry festival between 2004 and 2008. Photo by Petra Rolinec
Kate Wallis is Lecturer in World Literatures in the Department of English and Film at the University of Exeter and co-producer of Africa Writes–Bristol 2019 . She is currently working on a monograph exploring pan-African literary networks post-2000 building on her doctoral research on Kwani Trust, Farafina and Cassava Republic Press. Her work has been published in Wasafiri, Research in African Literatures and the Routledge Handbook of African Literature. She is a Director for Kigali-based publishing company Huza Press, a co-founder and editor of www.africainwords.com, and was Producer of the Africa Writes festival in London in 2015.
Daniel Kofi Appiah is Festival Production Assistant for Africa Writes–Bristol 2019. Originally from South London, Dan grew up in the South East and is currently reading History and Politics at the University of Exeter. Over the last academic year he worked as Head Editor of student-run publishing house Penryn Press, Vice-President and Treasurer of the FXU History Society and President of the FXU Politics Society. He has shared Ghanaian and English heritage.
We are grateful to all our previous festival team members: Baindu Kallon, Ralitsa Chorbadzhiyska, Beth O’Connor, Yovanka Paquete Perdigao, Rhoda Tomilola Ola-Said, Amal Osman, Dele Meiji Fatunla, Kelechi Emmanuel Iwumene, Josette Joseph, Shushan Tewolde-Berhan, and Kate Wallis.