The Feminart Arts and Book Festival 2019 is set to be hosted in Lilongwe, Malawi from October 11-13. This inaugural edition will be run by a team led by festival director Shadreck Chikoti.
Malawi hasn’t been very active in the African literary festival circuit in the recent past. This is set to change with the newest festival, organized by Story Club Malawi, called the Feminart Arts and Book Festival. The festival will feature book chats, panel discussions, workshops, art exhibitions, and performances. It will ask several questions in the context of feminism, femininity, and gender, under the theme “The Pursuit of Happiness.” They include asking; what does it mean to be happy? How do we create a happy environment for all? What are the challenges to this pursuit of happiness?
The new festival is being coordinated by a team led by festival director Shadreck Chikoti. Here is the team running the newest festival in Southern Africa.
Festival Director: Shadreck Chikoti.
Shadreck Chikoti is a Malawian writer and social activist who has won numerous literary awards including the 2013 Peer Gynt Literary Award with his futuristic novel, Azotus the Kingdom. This novel was also shortlisted for the Africa Nommo Awards for speculative fiction 2017. He was listed on the Africa39 project as one of the “most promising African writers under 40.” Chikoti’s work has also appeared in several anthologies, including the Caine Prize anthology To See the Mountain and Other Stories (2011), and in All The Good Things Around Us: An Anthology of African Short Stories. He is the director of Pan African Publishers and in 2013 he founded Story Club Malawi, a space for literary enthusiasts.
Administrative Manager: Yamikani Chikoti.
Yamikani is a graduate of African Bible College and holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication and Theology. She has worked with the Lydia Project, a women’s program that deals with women empowerment, Children of the Nations, where she worked as a Village Coordinator, Kanyenyeva Ministries where she works as a manager. Yamikani is also director of The Translators Society, an institution that offers translation services to organizations and individuals.
Logistics Manager: Chris Msosa.
Fondly referred to as the Mazizi Kunene of Malawi because of his philosophical poetry, Chris Msosa is the Manager and artist liaison officer at both the Story Club and Story Club Arts Café. Chris has performed in numerous poetry spaces including Lake of Stars Festival, City of Stars Festival and the recent Clinch Festival in Hannover Germany.
International Desk Director: Zukiswa Wanner.
Zukiswa Wanner is a South African novelist, and publisher whose novels have been shortlisted for the South African Literary Awards and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. In 2015, she won the K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award for London Cape Town Joburg (2014). In 2014, Wanner was named on the Africa39 list of 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with potential and talent to define trends in African literature.
Programs Curator: Dr. Stephanie Bosch Santana.
Dr Stephanie Bosch Santana who is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at UCLA is the assistant editor of The Face of the Spirit: illuminating a century of essays by South African women (2007). She was also the co-editor of Winning Stories from the Malawian Girls’ Short Story Competition (2009).
Resource Mobilization Director: Trine Andersen.
Trine Andersen’s first book, a collection of short stories called Hotel Malheureux, was published in 1995 and won both the 1995 Debut Prize and an award from the Danish Arts Foundation. Since then she has written poetry, novels, and more short stories, as well as some literature for children. In her latest book, the novel The Red Earth in Mzuzu, the Western cliché-image of Africa is under discussion.