Africa Writes is the Royal African Society’s annual literature festival. Celebrating its 5th year, Africa Writes 2016 will bring together over 50 authors, poets, publishers and experts for a stimulating and exciting three days! Every year the festival showcases established and emerging talent from the African continent and its diaspora in what is now the UK’s biggest celebration of contemporary African writing taking place over an exciting summer weekend. The festival features book launches, readings, author appearances, panel discussions, youth and children’s workshops, and other activities.
This year’s highlights include the symposium “Africa in Translation: Memory and Remembering” on friday, 1 July 2016 (10.00-13.00). The symposium aims to explore the place of translation in the contested spaces of memory and re-membering, and its impact on society. The discussants – Veronique Tadjo, Kama Sywor Kamanda, Abdilatif Abdalla, Roland Glasser, Ida Hadjivayani and others – look into
the meaning of ‘the African body’ across time and space, and into the place of literature in cross-cultural scholarship, writing, reading, translation, publishing and performance.
“Fresh Perspectives on African Literature” at 14.00 on Friday 1 July will present exciting new scholarship from PhD students, early career scholars and independent researchers that opens up ideas of, and approaches to, ‘African literatures’. Chaired by Africa in Words’ own Rebecca Jones, the panel will feature short talks on ecocritical approaches to Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol; how pattern recognition can modify the way we look at the global circulation of African literatures, African female sexuality and motherhood in literature; and the ‘death of the author’ in relation to A. Igoni Barrett’s Blackass, Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory, and Nnedi Okorafor’s The Book of Phoenix.
Friday evening will be all about “Sex, Love and Poetry” – an evening of readings and uncensored conversation on sex, love and desire spanning the sexuality spectrum and the African Diaspora experience. With daring work that challenges hetero-normative depictions of love, the invited guest poets and writers will explore intimacy and romance without taboos or restrictions. The event features Caleb Femi, Rachel Long, Adam Lowe and SA Smythea and is hosted by Bisi Alimi.
“Boiling a Great Plot: Contemporary Genre Fiction” is the theme of sunday afternoon’s talk with Leye Adenle, Nikhil Singh and Frances Mensah Williams (14:30 – 15:45pm). They discuss contemporary work from Africa across the genres of crime writing, international women’s fiction and sci-fi and fantasy.
Beyond these, the festival will feature both established and emerging voices, including headline guest internationally renowned writer, novelist, psychiatrist and fighter for women’s rights Nawal El Saadawi, the Caine Prize 2016 shortlisters (Abdul Adan, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Tope Folarin, Bongani Kona and Lidudumalingani) alongside book launches with Yewande Omotoso and Chuma Nwokolo, panel discussions about “Writing Africa’s Development: Narratives, Agency, Accountability” and “Diversity in Children’s Publishing,” amongst others, and many other exciting events that celebrate African literature and arts.
See the full programme on the Africa Writes website.