In other Words… AiW news & wrap for September

Catching up on our monthly round-up of ‘other words’ – news on AiW’s radar, collated from across our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

We also continue with our separate sister “Calls for” post as part of our “Other Words” this month, rounding up opportunities and shout-outs for contributions – check that one out via our homepage for upcoming calls, academic and creative, and crosses between…


News from our SM…

Festivals, Salons, & Conversations | Readings – Books, Journals & Mags | Performance, Visuals, Sounds | Awards & Congrats | And also on our radar…


Festivals, Salons & Conversations


The 4th edition of the Abuja Literary and Arts Festival (2021) came up through Sept 25th-Oct 2 with the theme Making Art Work. 

The idea behind this theme is to programme the festival around finding solutions to the challenges facing the literary space in Nigeria and in Africa. […] proactively equipping creatives with the skills they need to create sustainable livelihoods for themselves and others through their art.

Catch up with the Fest via their website and the #ALitFest21 at Twitter…


HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa – and the African Studies Association of Africa (ASAA) were out in force late September online in their series “Thinking the Human Through Africa: Epistemological Debates #2”, this session on Postcolonial African Feminisms, with the panelists Sylvia Bawa & Yolande Bouka. 

This HUMA-ASAA series of debates leading up to the ASAA 2022 Biennial Conference aims to provoke pertinent questions and stir ideological debates about the ethics of being human in Africa and being African in the world today. The discussions are organised around key pillars that allow us to move from everyday ideas to analytical concepts.

Format: The seminars are being held once a month, convening two scholars in conversation around an epistemological question, followed by a Q&A session. 

You can watch the entire debate on HUMA’s Facebook page by following this link to their Facebook page. 


Pan Macmillan South Africa, with one of our fave podcasts, The Cheeky Natives, held a virtual launch for Futhi Ntshingila’s They Got to You Too on The Cheeky Natives’ social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

They Got to You Too is the deeply humane and thought-provoking story of Hans van Rooyen, a former police general who finds himself being cared for in an old age home by the daughter of liberation struggle activists, Zoe Zondi. It is a story of loss and trauma, love and reconciliation.

Watch the launch in full at Cheeky Natives’ YouTube channel:

1page-divider(Sneaking in from August into early September) is…

Lusophone literature in Africa and its diaspora:

The past of Portuguese colonialism reflects in the Lusuphone languages spoken in several African countries like Angola and Mozambique, the origins of the writer and musician Kalaf Epalanga and of the philosopher, journalist and cultural activist Jessemusse Cacinda. On James Murua’s livestream, they discussed the challenges and opportunities of Lusophone literature on the African continent in the present and future.

And catch the full playlist of this fab back catalogue on Murua’s LiveStream YouTube channel

Rémy Ngamije joined Zukiswa Wanner to chat his novel The Eternal Audience of One (republished August 10th 2021 by Gallery/Scout Press, first published July 19th 2019) and other things…

Although this chat is not available, or virtually yours (yet?… geddit?), via the Virtually Yours Vimeo stream, you can check out video coverage of Wanner’s conversations with previous authors in the series at the Goethe Institute, Namibia’s website here (or by clicking the image below) –

inc. 2021’s Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu (Zimbabwe) “The History of Man”, Ondjaki (Angola) “Good Morning Comrade”, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya) “The Dragonfly Sea”, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (Nigeria) “Dreams and Assorted Nightmares”, and Natasha Omokhodion (Zambia) “No Be from Hia”, as well as more from further back through the series (site in German and English)…


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Readings – Books, Journals & Mags

The fab and vigorous Blackbird Books have signed a deal which will bring their books to the North American market…

We are also excited for and about this platform’s extended reach esp. because of the possibilities there, given – ICYMI – their launchpad presence for those African narratives that may otherwise not have attention:

BlackBirdBooks_africaday-graphic-2048x2048About Blackbird Books

Blackbird Books was founded in August 2015 by publisher Thabiso Mahlape. Its launch was a ground-breaking move for the South African literary landscape and since its inception we’ve been pioneering and establishing a home for new African narratives, especially for black authors.

Blackbird Books is concerned with publishing stories that cut to the core and reflect the African experience. We provide this platform to brilliant authors, concentrated on young black authors, who would otherwise not have the opportunity to tell the stories that shape and showcase the wealth of their African experiences.


In (other) new releases…

Cassava brings us life with poetry from and for womxn, womyn, women writers and all!:


Catalyst Press shared their latest release of Short Story Day Africa’s latest short fiction competition anthology – that cover!:

~ AiW belated note (added 07 Oct) – we’re very happy to see the Disruption anthology available in North America from Catalyst, and have heard, breaking, from SSDA that there’s an e-book coming soon too… ~

1page-dividerAnd a cover reveal from Griots Lounge for a much-anticipated November release:

We are *delighted* about this – Umezurike has been a great friend of Africa in Words over the years, as well as a widely read and committed reader and thinker of African literature and scholarship – and we have some exciting content coming your way on the site with regards to this publication… where Uche will be answering some questions from us, rather than doing the, in his case brilliant, asking (see the link for some egs of these interviews)…


In Mags news…

Check out the newest of mags releases from the Akuko Collective: 

You can read the magazine, its history and meet the collective at the website (About page)



In journals – check out the latest from the NJAS (Nordic Journal of African Studies):

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Performance, Visuals, Sounds


Not strictly a retrospective wrap item but… early bird passes for Africa in Motion were released and into motion on the wing (geddit?) in September – catch them before they fly off the shelves (OK – many mixed metaphors but… exciting!)…



Missed this year’s showing of the exhibition, “Michael Armitage. Paradise Edict”, including the single room display of a selection of the East African artists Asaph Ne’gethe Macua, Elimo Njau, Theresa Musoke, Jak Katarikawe, Meek Gichugu and Sane Wadu (contributed by NCAI – Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute)?

The RA (London) have a virtual tour of the exhibition on their website or via Vimeo (below)…


Frustrating or limiting though the viewing experience is not to be in the presence of the art, its scale, your own eye’s lead – especially given Armitage’s use of the East African lubugo bark textile as his canvas, his working through of the cloth’s natural fibrous qualities and grain, or seams where pieces are stitched together – this online view is worth a visit.

See more at the RA and reviews to feel a way through the online space…

Michael Armitage is a Kenyan-born artist who works between Nairobi and London. His colourful, dreamlike paintings are loaded with provocative perspectives that play with visual narratives and challenge cultural assumptions, exploring politics, history, civil unrest and sexuality.

Made using Lubugo bark cloth, a culturally important material made of tree bark by the Baganda people in Uganda, many of his large-scale works draw on contemporary events, combining these with Western painting motifs.

This spring – just over 10 years since Armitage graduated from the Royal Academy Schools – we bring together 15 of his large-scale paintings from the past six years, exploring East African landscapes, politics and society.

Alongside will be a selection of 31 works by six East African contemporary artists: Meek Gichugu, Jak Katarikawe, Theresa Musoke, Asaph Ng’ethe Macua, Elimo Njau and Sane Wadu. Chosen by Armitage for their important role in shaping figurative painting in Kenya, these seminal artists have also had a profound impact on his own artistic development. A version of this part of the exhibition will be shown at the Nairobi Contemporary Art Institute, a non-profit visual arts space founded by Armitage.



Ends and the missed opportunities that lead Dr Tinashe Mushakavanhu to publishing, archives, literature and the project – one of whose strands is Reading Zimbabwe – that is spurred by an open and extensive set of thoughts on the importance of books in dialogue and conversation:

Dr Tinashe Mushakavanhu discusses the coup of November 2017 in Zimbabwe, the death of Robert Mugabe, and why it is necessary to build a new set of digital tools for re-reading the country’s history. The podcast grapples with the question: how do we read a country beyond an individual?

The members of The WiSER Podcast team are Sarah Nuttall, Sizwe Mpofu-Walsh, Isabel Hofmeyr, Tinashe Mushakavanhu and Achille Mbembe.

Listen via Podbean or as it’s embedded here:

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Awards & Congrats 

Congrats to the Toyin Falola Prize longlist:

1page-dividerAnd see Africa in Dialogue’s conversations with the shortlisted writers of the 2021 James Currey Prize for African Literature. Read more on the shortlisted writers here.

A big congrats to Ani Kayode Somtochukwu – the winner! for his manuscript, ‘And Then He Sang a Lullaby’.


And linking our last two sections of September’s wrap – Awards & Congrats with what’s Also on our Radar, with readings and lookings and all other sorts of AiW interests! – the winners of South Africa’s CNA Literary Awards were announced mid-month:

Having put the awards on hold last year due to the pandemic, this year’s judges had a double load of both long- and shortlists to read and contend with.

Harding won the non-fiction award for his investigative masterpiece These Are Not Gentle People (Picador). The distinguished foreign correspondent presents a gripping and layered true story of crime, punishment and redemption of the brutal beating and death of two young men and those accused of committing the crime in a small Free State farming town. When a whole community is on trial, he asks, who pays the price?

Marguerite Poland took home the fiction prize for her poignant and harrowing tale A Sin of Omission (Penguin Fiction) set in the Eastern Cape of the late 1800s. It follows the story of a black South African Anglican deacon, Stephen (Malusi) Mzamane, trained in England but now marooned in a rundown mission in Fort Beaufort. He is battling the prejudices of colonial society and the church itself, when he is called to his mother’s rural home to inform her of his elder brother’s death.

This was a tough, brutal and challenging two years for the book world as not only our awards were missing as well as other prizes, book launches and beloved festivals were cancelled, bookstores have closed and as a result publishers and authors have suffered tremendously. We were determined to take all the books of the past two years into account so our judging panels had an enormous task.

We are pleased to see the fiction winner is Marguerite Poland’s A Sin of Omission – not least because it gives us a chance to link back to her ‘Preface’ to an AiW series from last year where we profiled the ambitious making of a COVID-19 resilience tapestry at the Keiskamma Art Project in Hamburg, the rural Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The Keiskamma Project created four narrative tapestries illustrating Poland’s prize-winning novel, A Sin of Omission in 2019.


Read Poland’s ‘Preface’ to the Keiskamma COVID-19 Resilience Tapestry series, with more info about the Project’s interest in the novel, as well as the collective testimonies, via the AiW Q&A subset, Words on the Times, of the team at the Keiskamma Art Project, and the beauty of the document they shared with us of the creative processes feeding in to the COVID-19 Resilience Tapestry, unfolding its work as it was being made, “live” on the page…

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And also on our radar…

Spotlight on Writers Project of Ghana for September’s wrap and eyes on their SM feeds, which we’ve been tearing through…

Their African literary fest Pa Gya! returns through October… watch this space and check in with next month’s wrap for more…

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There’s just room here to say thank you all for reading, and for being here with us!

If there’s anything you’d like to see featured on the site, or if you’d like to connect up and we can help, in any way – don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our Contact Us page has all the details you need, or catch us on our SMs.

Please remember, you can check out our Calls For… roundup this month – with sections for scholarly and academic calls, as well as for creative critical ones for makers and producers – follow this link…

Categories: And Other Words..., Announcements, News, & Upcoming

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