IN PERSON & LIVE STREAM
Sunday 24 October, 12:00 – 13:30 BST
Venue: Knowledge Centre Theatre and British Library Player
Tickets: Included in Sunday Day Pass
With Chikodili Emelumadu, Inua Ellams and Abi Daré and readings from J K Chukwu, Chigozie Obioma, Ayobami Adebayo and Umar Turaki. Chaired by BBC Africa’s Bola Mosuro.
Nigerian writers on the home, identity and culture they know.
To define Nigeria is to tell a half-truth. Many have tried, but most have concluded that it is impossible to capture the true scope and significance of Africa’s most populous nation through words or images. And yet here, through personal essays from its writers, a more accurate picture comes into view: one that details the realities and contradictions of patriotism, examines the role of class and privilege in Nigerian society, juxtaposes inherited tradition with the diasporic experience and explores the power of storytelling and its intrinsic link to Nigeria’s history.
Powerful, lyrical and entirely unforgettable, OF THIS OUR COUNTRY weaves together a living portrait of Nigeria, one that is as beautiful as it is complex. Join Chikodili Emelumadu, Inua Ellams and Abi Daré as they unpack their essays in the anthology, with special readings from J K Chukwu, Chigozie Obioma, Ayobami Adebayo and Umar Turaki, and hosted by Bola Mosuru.
This event will be BSL interpreted.
This is a hybrid event which you can experience either in-person or through live stream on the British Library Player. The safety of our audiences are paramount, if you choose to attend in-person please note we will still be implementing socially distanced measures. Be prepared for an exciting evening brought to you with your safety and comfort in mind.
About the speakers:
Chikodili Emelumadu is a British Nigerian speculative fiction writer. Born in the UK and raised in Nigeria, Emelumadu’s short story “Candy Girl” was shortlisted for the Shirley Jackson Awards in 2015. Her work has also been shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing ( “Bush Baby” in 2017 and “What to do when your child brings home a Mami Wata” in 2020). In 2019, she won the inaugural Curtis Brown First Novel prize for her novel Dazzling.
Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and his published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours and The Half-God of Rainfall – an epic story in verse. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth Barber Shop Chronicles sold out two runs at England’s National Theatre. He recently completed his first full poetry collection The Actual, is currently touring An Evening With An Immigrant and working on several commissions across stage and screen. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat colour and vector graphics. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Abi Daré is the author of The Girl with the Louding Voice, which was a New York Times bestseller, a #ReadWithJenna Today Show book club pick, and an Indie Next Pick. She grew up in Lagos, Nigeria and went on to study law at the University of Wolverhampton and has an MSc in International Project Management from Glasgow Caledonian University as well as an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. Abi lives in Essex, UK with her husband and two daughters, who inspired her to write her debut novel.
About the readers:
Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ is a Nigerian writer. Her 2017 debut novel, Stay With Me, won the 9mobile Prize for Literature and the Prix Les Afriques. She was awarded the Future Awards Africa Prize for Arts and Culture in 2017. Adébáyọ̀ studied at Obafemi Awolowo University, earning BA and MA degrees in Literature in English. She went to study Creative Writing (MA Prose fiction) at the University of East Anglia, where she was awarded an International Bursary.
J K Chukwu is a half Nigerian, half Detroitian writer from the Midwest. Her writing is rooted in examining the strangeness, depravity, and trauma that is contained in everyday life. Currently, she is attending Brown University for her MFA in Fiction. Her audio essay “Love Sounds”, published by A Velvet Giant, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has presented her writing and art at University of Wisconsin-Madison, National Louis University, UC Berkeley, and the University of Maryland. Her personal essay is forthcoming in the Black Warrior Review.
Chigozie Obioma is a Nigerian writer. He is best known for writing the novels The Fishermen (2015) and An Orchestra of Minorities (2019) both of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize.His work has been translated into more than 25 languages. As of 2021, Obioma is James E. Ryan Associate Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Umar Turaki‘s writing has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Scholarship, longlisted for the Short Story Day Africa Prize, and has won the AFREADA Photo-Story Competition. His debut novel, SUCH A BEAUTIFUL THING TO BEHOLD, is forthcoming from Little A (world) and Farafina (Nigeria) in 2022. He is represented by David Godwin at David Godwin Associates (UK/International) and Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger Literary Agency (US). Photograph by Musa Tukurah. Umar’s short films have screened in numerous festivals, and his work in television both as a writer and director has been broadcast on various stations. Umar tweets at @nenrota. He lives in Jos, Nigeria with his wife and daughter.
Image credit: (L-R) Of This Our Country, Abi Daré, Chikodili Emelumadu and Inua Ellams
Africa Writes 2021 returns from 4 – 24 October. You can join us in celebrating the imagination, pleasure and activism within contemporary African literature either online, at 180 The Strand and the British Library. Learn more about the programme here.