This month marks one year since we began our wrap ups of African literary and cultural news! Since then, we have moved to monthly wraps and as we move through the changed circumstances, timelines and spaces of now, we catch up on our monthly round-up of ‘other words’ – news on AiW’s radar, collated from across our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
March’s most read Reviews and General posts –
– one from the month – #Present | and one from our archives – #Past
(click to read)
Festivals, Salons, & Conversations | Readings – Books, Journals & Mags | Performance, Visuals, Sounds | Awards & Congrats | Calls for…
Festivals, Salons & Conversations
March was a busy month for literary events! The 24th edition of Time of the Writer Festival and 2nd virtual festival ran from March 15th – 21st. We covered the Festival’s opening on the blog, exploring Zukiswa Wanner’s powerful, moving and inspirational keynote speech, “The Writer’s Voice in a Political, Social and Artistically-Conscious World”. Wanner brought the Festival theme, “The Writer: Witness, The Canary In The Mine or Testifier?” and the writer’s voice together in her keynote, asking an important question:
“In this 24th year of Time of the Writer Festival as we face a global pandemic for the second year, it seemed important that as I looked at the larger festival theme The Writer: Witness, Canary in the Mine or Testifier, I focus too on the writer’s voice in a political, social and artistically-conscious world. I focus on this because it’s the world we live in. For what is writing, without politics or society, and how meaningful is it if not executed artistically?”
You can catch up on the Time of the Writer via the Centre for Creative Arts YouTube Channel, and follow the Festival’s future happenings via their Facebook and Twitter pages. For the entire programme and participant biographies visit tow.ukzn.ac.za.
To celebrate Ghana’s Independence Day this year, The Nana Project hosted the online Abakɔsem Festival in March.
The festival provided a space for Ghanaians at home and in the diaspora to explore and engage with the cultural history that has shaped the country since the 20th century through exciting exhibitions, visual art, and conversations. For more information: https://www.thenanaproject.org/abakosem-festival
Women were celebrated at the third edition of the annual Swahili Literary Festival which took place between 5 – 8 March!
The online literary magazine, The Shallow Tales Review, held their first reading meeting to celebrate its one year anniversary of standard publication on March 13th. Congrats, Shallow Tales!
On March 17th, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, author, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at University of California Irvine, joined Stephanie Newell and Ciru Wainaina for the third installment of the African Writers in Conversation Series.
Keep your eyes peeled on the blog as we will have a detailed review of the event upcoming!
Earlier in the month, Langaa’s Covid Stories from East Africa and Beyond was launched online. These are definitely worth a catch up here on YouTube.
“The stories highlight challenges, new opportunities, and ultimately the deep resilience of Africans and their communities.”
The inaugural edition of Heroe Book Fair ran from 22 -26 March at the Alliance Francaise de Mombasa, with an exciting program full of all things related to the theme ‘Belonging’.
Bakwa hosted yet another engaging conversation this month, this time on the topic of The Art of Translation.
Readings – Books, Journals & Mags
For World Book Day, the Royal African Society had some children’s book recommendations for us all – amongst them the wonderful Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o.
Doek! Literary Magazine launched its 5th issue on 15 March:
This month, Jacana Media showcased two fantastic works by Professor Adekeye Adebajo: The Pan-African Pantheon: Prophets, Poets, and Philosophers and The Trial of Cecil John Rhodes, both of which make substantive contribution to contemporary debates in an era of “Rhodes Must Fall” and “Black Lives Matter”.
In association with African Books Collective (ABC), the International African Institute (IAI) announced a new database “aimed as a resource for authors and publishers of books on African topics and countries to locate possible co-publishers for their work in the African continent” this month. A pretty exciting total of 196 organizations are currently listed.
We’ve been looking forward to this news! Shola Adenekan’s new book African Literature in the Digital Age is now out:
Performance, Visuals, Sounds
Have you been listening to Literate Podcast lately? Not only can you find a brilliant new episode on Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, but if you go back in their archive you’ll find excellent listening on Buchi Emecheta, Doris Lessing and others.
The Ubuntu Ensemble was live in London for The African Concert Series on 28th March.
WISER Podcast announced some exciting news in March: you can now download the podcast transcripts for easy reference.
Awards & Congrats
Congrats to Desta Haile, the 2021 Afritondo Short Story Prize winner
And, applause for all those who took part and were shortlisted:
Many congratulations to Scholastique Mukasonga who became the first African woman to receive the Simone de Beauvoir prize for women’s freedom this month:
Congrats to Yaa Gyasi for being longlisted for the Women’s Prize
Kwame Dawes has been appointed editor of American Life in Poetry! Congrats!!
Silence is My Mother Tongue is a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards. Many congratulations, Sulaiman Addonia
Sacrament of Bodies is also a finalist for the 2021 Lambda Literary Awards, this time in the Gay Poetry Category. Congrats, congrats, Romeo Oriogun!
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o has been nominated for the International Booker Prize as author and translator:
A number of Calls for submissions that may be of interest to our readers…
Langaa is calling for reflections and artwork.
The Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD) is calling for submissions from women across Africa to its project, Women Reading Women: An Audio Archive of African Women’s Stories
Street Art in Southern Africa put out a call for papers published in an edited volume documenting the history, methodology, and future of street art.
The Wakini Kuria Prize for Children’s Literature is currently open for submissions:
…and make sure to register for this year’s Annual International Igbo Conference, which will take place 8-10 April.
Finally, this month, the Egyptian writer, activist, physician, and psychiatrist Nawal El Saadawi sadly passed away. She wrote over fifty books, including The Hidden Face of Eve (1977), Woman at Point Zero (1975), The Fall of the Imam (1987), and Two Women in One (1983). She will be greatly missed.