Meet the headliners – Africa Writes 2018

Africa Writes is back this summer with an exciting programme showcasing the best new writing from the continent and the diaspora. Our headline events from 29 June to 1 July highlight migration, identity and the future, and celebrate the poetic form. Meet the writers featured in the 2018 headline events and join us as we celebrate the future of African literature…

Yomi Sode

Friday 29 June, 20:00 – 21:00 (doors at 19:30), British Library


Picture this:  Nigeria. A grandmother passes. London, a son cooks a pot of stew for his mother hoping to uncover hidden stories and unanswered questions.

Drawing on themes of  immigration, identity and displacement, Coat is a one-man show written by poet Yomi Sode which tells honest and emotional story of Junior. Born in Nigeria, he leaves at age 9 and heads to London, leaving behind a life that he loved and is settled in. Whilst cooking up a stew on stage, Sode confronts the difficult realities of growing up in south London as a young man, and the expectations of family, blending poetry and drama in a unique performance style rich with lyricism, humour and hard truths.

Sode is a Nigerian British writer, performer and facilitator. Shortlisted for a Jerwood Compton 2017 Poetry Fellowship, his show Coat has been programmed at the Southbank Centre and Roundhouse to sold-out audiences. Yomi is also a member of Malika Booker’s Poetry Kitchen and founder of BoxedIN, a successful monthly poetry event in BoxPark, Shoreditch.

Octavia Poetry Collective

Octavia Poetry Collective Presents:Africa Writes 2018 Party
The Year of the Womxn
Saturday 30 June, 20:00 – 00:00, Rich Mix
£10 / £8


Following 2017’s sold out R.A.P Party, Africa Writes returns with the official festival party hosted by Octavia Poetry Collective. Join us for a Wakanda-themed evening of poetry, music and dancing into the night /future where we’ll showcase and celebrate the words, the art, the song of womxn from Africa and the diaspora. Taking their name from the American science fiction writer Octavia Butler and inspiration from Black Panther, Octavia present an evening celebrating The Year of the Womxn featuring art displays, a live band, DJs and a line-up of guest poets.

Led by Rachel Long, Octavia is housed at Southbank Centre and has performed at Women of the World and London Literature Festivals. Octavia Poets have also been an integral part of our Education Programme as facilitators for our program Africa Writes: Young Voices.


Warsan Shire

Warsan Shire in Conversation
Monday 21 January 2019, British Library  19.00 – 20.30
£15 / £12 for RAS Members
(Original date: Sunday 1 July, British Library, 17:30 – 18:45)


We’re delighted to welcome back Warsan Shire to Africa Writes as our headline writer. Shire is a Somali-British poet and writer based in Los Angeles. Raised in northwest London, her debut pamphlet, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye publishing) was published in 2011. Since then, Shire was awarded the inaugural African Poetry Prize in 2013, appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London (2014) and selected as Poet in Resident for Queensland, Australia (2014). In 2016, her work was featured prominently in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. She is the first writer under 30 to headline Africa Writes.

Shire’s poetry highlights themes of migration, identity and sexuality amongst others.  She also curates and teaches classes around the intersections of art and healing. Shire will join us to discuss her work, process and inspiration.

Excited? Then head to our website to purchase your tickets, we recommend booking in advance.



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