Africa Writes 2013

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Organised by The Royal African Society, Africa Writes 2013 took place this from Friday 5th July – 7th July with our new partner and venue The British Library. The festival featured an exciting line-up of established and up and coming African authors. Last year’s festival lecture was delivered by Chimamanda Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah.

The 2013 festival hosted Africa’s greatest living novelist, Ngugi Wa’Thiongo, alongside his son, a rising star in African popular culture and literature, Mukoma Ngugi. The panel was chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor, of Granta, the UK’s leading magazine of New Writing. The festival  also staged a public book fair for UK publishers of fiction and non-fiction books on Africa and by Africans.

Festival highlights include:

mukoma-baba-2Two Writers, Two Generations: Ngugi wa Thiong’o & Mukoma wa Ngugi, (Saturday, 6.30-8PM). Spanning the history of Africa’s independence and its contemporary literary scene, acclaimed author Ngugi wa Thiong’o and his son, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, discuss their respective preoccupations and aspirations as writers of different generations. Chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Editor of Granta Magazine.

Africa in Translation: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, (Friday, 10AM-1PM). This symposium reflects on translation and knowledge transfer in Africa. Translators, writers, artists, publishers and academics come together to discuss how the written, digital and oral word interacts with real life and the different media and cultural forms stemming from Africa, and in particular how they are shaping the continent and perceptions of African development.

With acclaimed translator Wangui wa Goro, Reader in English & Humanities Mpalive Msiska, African development expert Gibril Faal, publisher Ayebia Clarke and others.

Writing Africa’s Futures, Friday, 2-5PM: How are today’s African writers exploring new themes, techniques and genres since the first generation of literary giants – Achebe, Ngugi, Soyinka and others?  Where is African writing going in the 21st century? Each year, the Caine Prize for African Writing maps new directions in contemporary writing.  Join the five authors short-listed for the 2013 prize in an in-depth discussion of the africa_writes_2013-79continent’s flourishing literary cultures and futures. Also taking part are distinguished authors Doreen Baingana and Zoe Wicomb, and Professors Onookome Okome and Stephanie Newell.

This was an African Studies Association (UK) fiftieth anniversary event.

Diaspora Writes Back Friday, 5th July 2013, 6:30-8:30PM Conference Centre: How do you negotiate multiple cultures and different identities? How do you break free and find your own voice? Africa Writes brings together four London-based African poets representing the four corners of the continent for a reflective poetry evening. Kenyan-born Somali poet Warsan Shire and others will perform poems, which deal with core themes of identity and migration, manhood and womanhood, politics of war and peace, and love.

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