África em Palavras is a Brazilian version inspired by this blog. It is a not a literal translation of our posts, but rather a translation of the idea behind Africa in Words: to write about Africa, to provide us, readers and writers, with a platform to discuss anything related to Africa: from history to exhibitions, from books to calls for papers, the idea is to keep African genres, issues and productions in our minds and write about them. Is not a coincidence that África em Palavras was opened in Brazil. As I explained in a previous post, Brazil has a long history of close contact with many African countries, which started during the Atlantic slave trade. However, our understanding of Africa is still clouded by stereotypes of poverty and war. We don’t know much about the good stuff that African countries have to offer. África em Palavras is looking forward to filling this gap together with all those who share this passion for Africa.
Thanks Kate, Katie, Steph, Jenny and Victoria for being part of Africa in Words.
Many more posts will come!’
— Nara Improta
‘I’m very happy to be celebrating the 1st birthday of Africa in Words. When we first started this blog I was looking forward to having a space to write, think about and record the various overlapping spaces of my personal, academic and publishing lives. Having spent the first half of the year living in Kigali and working in Nairobi, I can’t help but be sad I didn’t have time to document and share here more of the amazing writing, music, performance, people and places I encountered. There is always next year though!
Instead over the last year, I’ve found the blog an amazingly positive space for collaboration and dialogue. Like Nara, I want to thank you all for being part of this! Not only has Africa in Words been a wonderful place to plan activities with you all, I’ve loved being able to learn from and share ideas through our posts. Particular highlights for me have included:
- Nara’s post sharing her thinking on the kind of debates happening in English and Yoruba publications from West Africa at the end of the 19th / beginning of the 20th century
- Katie taking us with her to this year’s Cape Town Book Fair
- Victoria’s examination of the representation of the ‘other’ in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible
- Jenny’s review of four short films screened at last year’s Film Africa festival in London
- Nara’s reflections on reconciliation in Brazil in response to my post about the launch of the ‘Heal the Nation’ documentary in Nairobi.
Over the course of the last year we’ve been able to develop Africa in Words into a space that goes beyond dialogue between a group of PhD students supervised by Steph Newell at the University of Sussex, with our posts having been read in more than 90 countries! We are now excited about opening up Africa in Words to other voices and inviting ‘guest posts’. Our first guest Anthony Leaker posted last month sharing his reflections on the magical musical experience of ‘Africa Express’. We have plans to share many more guest posts of this quality with you over the coming months.’
— Kate Haines
‘Looking back over the year, and forward to the next (I believe that’s both ways) – I’d just like to add my thanks and appreciation for all the many wheels that set Africa in Words in motion – (ah, growing up already… so fast! And already with a younger sibling, África em Palavras!) – and to all who have kept it moving – who have contributed to, been moved to comment on, been enthused by, discussed, visited, read and supported our wee one in any way through its first year. With many more happy returns to come! – thank you.
As well as continuing to share the collaborative space that AiW‘s grown into, we now look forward to widening it and expanding our conversations with some more ‘firsts’ for us, including: a series of linked posts, from our regular contributors and from our ‘guest’ voices – to open up multiple viewpoints and positions on a single focus, and to encourage debate and discussion; the first of our interviews and Q&As with authors, editors and publishers from, in, around and across the continent; and at least one launch – for a new, exciting publishing venture coming out of Kigali that is encouraging and supporting talent in Rwanda – Material Books, founded by our very own Kate Haines.
All this and more – and, as always, your comments and suggestions are warmly welcomed. Thanks, again. And happy birthday Africa in Words!’
— Katie Reid
Categories: Material Books