And click the images to read October’s top Reviews and Posts – fave AiW pages from #PastAndPresent
Virtual Festivals, Fairs, Salons
Fairs – BooksContinuing the virtual book fair and festival tradition was the Ake Arts & Book Festival (22-25 Oct), the Pa Gya! A Literary Festival (16-18 Oct), and the Somali Week Festival (23-31 Oct). A detailed programme of this year’s Ake Arts and Book Festival, whose theme was African time, including events and guests, is available on the festival website. Read a review of The Smouldering Fires of Aké Arts & Book Festival 2019 here.
“Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra is a literary arts festival and features various activities such as readings, panel discussions, poetry performances and story-telling sessions, book launches, literary prize awards, comics and graphic novels, and more. Visit the festival pages here: Pa Gya! A Literary Festival in Accra (2020). All videos from Pa Gya! 2020 are available on our YouTube channel.”
“Kayd means preservation in Somali language and seeks to promote arts, culture and heritage for the benefit of the public, including musical, literary, dramatic, performance, dance and visual arts as well as talks and workshops by organizing and delivering arts and cultural events and festivals. Since 2009, the flagship event by Kayd has been it’s annual Somali Week Festival, which is the largest Somali festival outside of the Somali Horn and takes place in the UK’s Black History Month in October each year.”The FEMRITE literary week of activities also went online this October with a range of webinars, workshops and performances: Visit the Cambridge African Film Festival website for a short history of the festival, the list of 10 features which have been most popular with audiences and Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and social media feeds for more news, clips and visuals.
Books, Mags, Articles, Papers – October ReadingsAs part of October’s UK Black History Month celebrations, University of Exeter researcher, Kate Wallis, Lecturer in the Department of English and Film and AiW Founder Editor, profiled seven Black women that have influenced the UK’s publishing industry: You can read more about Jessica Huntley, Kadija George, Ellah Wakatama, Valerie Brandes, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Sharmaine Lovegrove and Aimée Felone by following this link. Excited for this! And from another venerable, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s new release, The Perfect Nine: The Epic of Gĩkũyũ and Mũmbi (first published in 2018) – a “dazzling, genre-defying novel in verse” – has received praise since out in its anglophone offering as of October 8th this year.
“Blending folklore, mythology and allegory, Ngugi wa Thiong’o chronicles the adventures of Gikuyu and Mumbi, and how their brave daughters became the matriarchs of the Gikuyu clans, in stunning verse, with all the epic elements of danger, humour and suspense.”And if Elnathan John’s dulcet tones do what they do for Cassava … remember that for an indie press your PRE-ORDER means the world. You can pre-order here or from your favourite bookshop. And for a free download of the first collection to engage directly with the idea of Africanfuturism – follow the links from Brittle Paper (and watch this space for reviews in the, ahem… future. Geddit?):
Journals and MagsOctober saw the fourth issue of Doek! And Sahifa, a new addition to an ever expanding literary publishing landscape, focused on the East African region, announced a call for its inaugural issue, ‘Futures and Dreams.’
Performance, Visuals, & SoundsFive decades ago, You Hide Me Still, described as groundbreaking and controversial, was screened for the first time at The Africa Centre. The Africa Centre celebrated the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of this important film in partnership with SOAS and AFFORD.
“This documentary film by Ghanaian filmmaker, Kwate Nii Owoo, is a dramatisation of a visit to the British Museum by two Africans who discover African art, specifically Benin bronzes, hidden in the basement. An exposé of the policies of European colonial regimes which, in establishing their rule, attempted to wipe out all traces of African civilisation, religion, language, and art. It argues that materials collected in Africa and often hidden in the basements of European museums have been used against Africans as well as black people in the Caribbean, Europe, and the USA, making them look down on a rich cultural heritage. The film is held in the June Givanni Pan African Cinema Archive (JGPACA).”
Poetic SoundsThe 24th Poetry Africa Festival, organized by the Centre for Creative Arts Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, took place from 12-17 Oct 2020. The lineup included poet, playwright and theatre director Koleka Putuma, actress, writer and performance poet Lebo Mashile, novelist and poet Chris Abani, and poet Safia Elhillo. Listen to Tsitsi Dangarembga, award-winning and renowned Zimbabwean author, filmmaker and activist, whose book, This Mournable Body was shortlisted for the Booker prize, as she delivers the Oliver and Adelaide Tambo Memorial lecture.
“The Tambo name is synonymous with integrity, humility, selfless leadership, patriotism, courage and conviction. The Tambos dedicated their lives to the struggle for a democratic South Africa – one in which all would be treated as equals and reap the benefits of a free and fair democratic dispensation.”
“Narrative Futures is the capstone podcast project of the Futures Thinking network at TORCH. Devised, recorded and edited by Chelsea Haith, the Narrative Futures podcast features eight interviews with some of the mosts important authors and editors working in the the speculative genre today. At the end of each interview, novelist and creative writing tutor Louis Greenberg presents two writing prompts which are designed to support engaged thought and creative imagination about the interview and the listener’s own creative practice in narrative building.” Listen to Chelsea’s podcasts with Lauren Beukes, Mohale Mashigo, and Sami Shah here, here and here.
Awards & Congrats
LonglistsLonglists were announced for the 2020 Short Story Day Africa Prize and the 2020 Aminiya-Trust Short Story Writing Contest.
ShortlistsEarlier this year, we wrote about the many impacts of COVID-19 on writers’ “schedules and headspace” – how Wasafiri‘s acknowledgment of said impacts led to an extension of its deadline for the new writing prize. In early October, the fiction, life writing and poetry shortlists were announced:
“In choosing the shortlist for the prize, the judges commented that they were ‘looking for somebody who finds new words for old things.’ Aida Edemariam said, ‘I was looking for quality of insight, and a quality of noticing; a feeling that I’ve never looked at something in quite that way, but it feels true.’ Raymond Antrobus echoed, ‘You’re just looking for something that hasn’t been said in that way.’ Simon Prosser commented, ‘What I was looking for was that sense of surprise for the reader—when something is said in a new way or in a fresh voice, seen from a different perspective, or in a surprising light; when you feel a writer doing something special, with verve.'”