Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Dilman Dila and Panashe Chigumadzi

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Panashe Chigumadzi for University of Iowa Writing Residency

The University of Iowa has announced the next group of participants in the 2017 edition of its legendary writing residency.

The University of Iowa International Writing Program, which was born in 1967, allows writers from all over the world with time, in a setting congenial to their efforts, for the production of literary work. The residency is designed for established and emerging creative writers — poets, fiction writers, dramatists, and non-fiction writers. The minimum requirements are that they have published at least one book, and that they possess sufficient proficiency in English to profit from the Iowa experience. Some of the previous participants of the residency include Helon Habila, Niq Mhlongo, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Novuyo Tshuma and many more.

The program has announced the participants for this years residents and there many African writers who will be making their way to the open fields of Ohio. The full list of writers include Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Ghada Al-Absy, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, Hajar Bali, Panashe Chigumadzi, Dilman Dila, Gimba Kakanda, and Antoinette Tidjani Alou. Here are details about the writers;

Yvonne Adhiambo OWUOR (fiction writer; Kenya) is an author, lecturer, and arts curator. Her first novel, Dust, was published by Knopf in 2014, and received the 2015 TBC Jomo Kenyatta Literature Award. In 2003, she won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her story “Weight of Whispers,” also the title of a 2003 volume. Owuor was an IWP Fall Resident in 2005, and returns as the Residency’s first Grinnell Fellow.

Panashe CHIGUMADZI (novelist, essayist; South Africa/Zimbabwe) is the author of the novel Sweet Medicine, which won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award; a short story, “Small Deaths,” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Literary Prize. She is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for black women in post-apartheid South Africa. In 2016, she curated Soweto’s Abantu Book Festival for black readers and writers in the country’s largest township.

Dilman DILA (fiction writer, filmmaker; Uganda) is the author of three volumes, The Flying Man of Stone, A Killing in the Sun and Cranes Crest at Sunset, shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award and the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His The Felistas Fable was the Film of the Year at the 2014 Uganda Film Festival; What Happened in Room 13 has had six million views on YouTube; he regularly produces science fiction films for his YouTube channel.

Ghada AL-ABSY (fiction writer; Egypt), a physician, is the author of several novels and short story volumes, among them حشيشة الملاك [Angelica] and الفيشاوي [Al-Fishawi]. The collection أولاد الحور [The Sons of Nymphs] won the 2014 Organization of Cultural Palaces competition; بيت اللو [“House of Almond”] won the 2016 Short Story Egyptian Club competition. Her novel الإسكافي الأخضر [The Green Cobbler] was a runner-up for the 2016 Akhbar Al-Adab Prize.

Ubah Cristina ALI FARAH (fiction writer, poet, playwright, translator; Italy) is a Somali-Italian novelist, performer, teacher and social activist. Her two novels, Madre piccola [Little Mother, Indiana UP 2011] and Il Comandante del fiume [The Commander of the River] tell stories of the Somali civil war and its refugees in Italy. In 2006, she was awarded the Lingua Madre National Literary Prize, and in 2008, the Vittorini Prize.

Hajar BALI (playwright, fiction writer, poet; Algeria) was, until 2016, a professor of mathematics at the University of Sciences and Technology in Algiers. Her collection of plays, Rêve et vol d’oiseaux [Dream and Birdflight] appeared in 2010; a collection of stories, Trop tard, in 2014. She has held writing residencies in France and Switzerland, and is now the general secretary of the L’Imago Cultural Association in Algiers.

Gimba KAKANDA (fiction writer, poet, journalist; Nigeria) published a first volume of poetry, Safari Pants, in 2010; his other work has been anthologized. He is an editor at the Daily Nigerian, a daily committed to promoting transparency in governance, and maintains a weekly column in other periodicals concerned with social issues.

Antoinette TIDJANI ALOU (fiction writer, poet, translator, scholar; Niger) teaches literature and directs the Program of Performing Arts at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. She has been the president of the International Society for Oral Literatures of Africa, and a collaborator on the “Women Writing Africa” project. Her first work, On m’appelle Nina, retraces the exilic experiences of a woman who leaves Jamaica for France, then Niger. A short story collection, a volume of poetry and a memoir are forthcoming.

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