The stimmen afrikas Short Story Festival, featuring among others Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Sinzo Aanza, Nafissatou Dia Diouf, Karen Jennings, Olumide Popoola, and Jo Güstin, runs from April 23-25, 2021. The festival theme is “Imagining the Future: Against the Oblivion.”

stimmen afrikas, which my Google translate tells me is “voices of Africa” in English, is a short story festival aimed at bringing together writers from the continent with those of Europe. The festival has hosted many of the leading names in African letters since 2009.

The 2021 edition starts with readings of twelve short stories by six African writers from six different countries with Fiston Mwanza Mujila as patron. The first six stories – by Sinzo Aanza (Congo), Nafissatou Dia Diouf (Senegal), Karen Jennings (South Africa), Jennifer N. Makumbi (Uganda), Olumide Popoola (Germany/Nigeria), Jo Güstin (Cameroon) – look back at the past and fight against oblivion.

The events are funded by the German Federal Foreign Office, Art Foundation NRW, City of Cologne, Sparkasse Cologne Bonn, Bread for the World In cooperation with Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Institut Français Köln, Institut Français Düsseldorf, Institut Français Bonn, and Alte Feuerwache Köln. To take part in the festival, please click here.

Here is more information about the featured writers

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Manchester-based Uganda writer. She received her Ph.D. from Lancester University in England and now teaches creative writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Her first novel, Kintu Saga, which was also her promotional novel, was published in 2014 and received the Kwani? Manuscript Project Prize. For her short story “Let’s Tell this Story Properly” she received the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014 and the Windham-Campbell Prize for Fiction followed in 2018. In 2020, her novel The First Woman was published for the UK / Commonwealth and under the title A Girl is a Body of Water in USA / Canada.

Moderation: Liz Shoo
Reader: Dela Dabulamanzi

Jo Güstin

Jo Güstin. Photo/Hugo Comte
Jo Güstin. Photo/Hugo Comte

Jo Güstin describes herself as an artist, activist, comedian, and freelancer. She has been working as a freelancer in marketing since 2015, translating and editing texts in French, English, and German. She is also a successful writer herself. As an activist, she deals with topics such as decolonization, intersectionality, and liberation

Moderation: Mariama Jalloh

Reader: Karmela Shako

Nafissatou Dia Diouf

Nafissatou Dia Diouf. Photo/Pascal Boissière
Nafissatou Dia Diouf. Photo/Pascal Boissière

Nafissatou Dia Diouf, born in Senegal in 1973, lives in France. She writes novels, poems and literature for young people and chronicles of society. In Sociobiz (Éditions Tamalys 2010, 2013) she creates a satire of Senegalese society today. La Maison des épices (House of Spices 2014) is her first novel and the result of long research in the field of medicine.
Moderation: Elisa Diallo
Reader: Prince Kuhlmann

Olumide Popoola

Olumide Popoola.  Photo/Herby Sachs
Olumide Popoola. Photo/Herby Sachs

Olumide Popoola, who is a Londoner by choice, is a Nigerian-German writer. Her publications include essays, poems, the novella, this is not about sadness (Unrast, 2010), the play Also by Mail (editions assemblage, 2013), and the short story collection Collection Breach, which she collaborates with Annie Holmes (Peirene Press) written in 2016. She also teaches creative writing at various universities and is also in demand internationally as a speaker and moderator. Her critically acclaimed novel When We Speak of Nothing (Cassava Republic Press, 2017) has been published in the UK, Nigeria and the US.

Moderation: Elnathan John
Reader: Oliver El-Fayoumy

Sinzo Aanza

Sinzo Aanza
Sinzo Aanza

Sinzo Aanza is a Congolese author who is currently also orienting himself towards modern art. In his literary and visual works, he takes up topics such as the exploitation of natural resources, the representation of a national identity and the portrayal of the Congo since colonialism. His first novel, Généalogie d’une banalité (2015), addresses the wealth of the Congo based on minerals. In 2017 he worked on his project Projet d’attentat contre l’image, which was exhibited at the Biennale de Lyon that same year.

Moderation: Moustapha Diallo
Reader: Azizè Flittner

Karen Jennings

Karen Jennings
Karen Jennings

Karen Jennings, born 1982 in Cape Town, is a writer and holds a PhD in creative writing. Her works have been published in many parts of the world and have won prizes such as the Africa Region Prize in the Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Your book Upturned Earth is set in South Africa in the 1850s and shows the inhumane conditions of commercial mining, the corruption and exploitation that still play a major role today.

Moderation: Liz Shoo
Reader: Robin Lyn Gooch

To take part in the festival, please click here.