The writers who will take part in Afrolit Sans Frontières Season 4 from June 29 to July 6, 2020, have been announced.
Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. Season 1, curated by founder Zukiswa Wanner ran from March 23-30 while Season 2 co-curated by the founder and Maaza Mengiste ran from April 20-27, 2020. Season 3 which ran from May 25 – June 1 was co-curated by Mohale Mashigo and Zukiswa Wanner.
Season 4 begins on June 29 has the theme “To Cut A Long Story Short” with a focus on short story writers and poets. This edition is curated by festival founder Zukiswa Wanner with the participation of Cifordom, Ethale Publishing and Peripherals who helped source French and Portuguese speaking artists.
The writers and poets taking part Season 4 are Natalia Molebatsi, Lamelle Shaw, Koleka Putuma, Irenosen Okojie, Raoul Djimeli, Hannibal Tabu, Niq Mhlongo, Mélio Tinga, Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún, Suzanne Dracius, Ngwatilo Mawiyoo, Iquo DianaAbasi, Mel Matsinhe, Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe, Lu Ain-Zaila, Raoul Djimeli, and d’bi.young anitafrika.
Below are the profiles of the short story writers and poets.
Natalia Molebatsi is Pan-African feminist poet, writer, MC and recording artist. Her CDs Natalia Molebatsi & the Soul Making (2015) and Come as you are: poems for four strings (2013), are both available on itunes. Her books are We are: a poetry anthology, as editor (Penguin books), Sardo Dance (Ge’ko) and Elephant Woman Song (Forum). Her academic writing is included in, among other journals, Scrutiny2, Rhodes Journalism Review, Agenda and Muziki. She has performed poetry and presented creative writing workshops in over 15 countries globally. www.nataliamolebatsi.com
d’bi.young anitafrika is a triple Dora-award winning author of twelve produced plays, seven distributed Dub albums and four published collections of poetry. d’bi.young anitafrika is also the recipient of nine Dora nominations, a KM Hunter Theatre award, a Mayor’s Arts award, a Vital People award, a Toronto Leadership Lab Fellow alumni, and a finalist for both the Ontario Premier Arts Award and the William Kilbourn Award.
Hxr first three poetry collections were Art on Black (2005), rivers … and other blackness … between us (2007) and Sankofa: Blood. Claat, Benu, and Word! Sound! Powah! (2017). In 2019, d’bi.young published hxr fourth collection of poetry—dubbin poetry—and the second book in hxr Dubbin Series—Dubbin Monodrama Anthology 1: Black Masculinities in African Diaspora Theatre. Hxr current PhD autoethnography entitled Seeking Being Humxn, centres on decolonial performance, praxis and pedagogy in theatre. Her latest projects include developing a new video-series called decolonize dis!, working as Theatre Interventionist on the UN’s Resilience Fund Fellowship and completing her forthcoming anthology Dubbin Theatre: The Collected Plays of d’bi.young anitafrika.
Koleka Putuma is an award-winning poet, playwright and theatre director. Her bestselling debut collection of poems Collective Amnesia has taken the South African literary scene by storm. Since its publication in April 2017, the book is in its 9th print run and has been prescribed for study at tertiary level in South African Universities and Gothenburg University in Sweden. It was recently awarded the 2018 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry Collective Amnesia. The collection was also named 2017 book of the year by the City Press and one of the best books of 2017 by The Sunday Times and Quartz Africa. It has been translated into Spanish and released in Madrid by Flores Rara. A German translation is forthcoming from Wunderhorn Publishing House later this year, and a Danish translation will be published by Rebel with a Cause in Denmark in 2020.
Her theatre works include UHM (2014) Woza Sarafina (2016), and Mbuzeni (2017/8), her theatre for young audiences include Ekhaya (2 – 7 year olds), and SCOOP: Kitchen play for carers and babes, the first South African theatre work for audiences aged 0 – 12 month old.
She recently showcased No Easter Sunday for Queers at the Market Theatre, Johannesburg, South Africa to sold out audiences and directed Lebo Mashile’s Venus Vs Modernity, which also played to sold out audiences at the Market theatre.
Raoul Djimeli is a writer and cultural activist. In Cameroon, he directs the publication of the literary magazine Clijec Mag and chairs the African Festival of Emerging Writings (Festae). His poems and prose have appeared in French, English and translated into Kiswahili and Spanish in various collectives and journals including the intercontinental anthology ARBOLARIUM. He participated in the Limbe-Lagos literary Exchange and in the first Afro Young Adult fictional project whose anthology, Water Birds on the Lakeshore was published in three languages. He co-directed the poetic project Ashes and Memories on the Anglophone crisis in Cameroon, and published The Burning Front of Dawn.
Iquo DianaAbasi writes prose, poetry and scripts for radio and screen. Her book, Efo Riro and Other Stories was released in January 2020. An avid student of human nature, Iquo’s writing explores social themes, pain, love, womanhood and trials of the griots of this age. Her first collection of poems, Symphony of Becoming, was shortlisted for the NLNG Nigeria prize for literature, and the ANA poetry prize; both in 2013. It has also been shortlisted for the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature.
Her writings appear in Kalahari review, Saraba magazine, ANA Review, AfricaInWords and Olisa.tv. She has also been featured in several print and online poetry anthologies.
Iquo is known to perform her poems with a touch of Ibibio folklore. Stages she has graced include: Lagos International Poetry Festival, Ake Arts and Book Festival, The Big60 Cultural Exchange, Wole Soyinka @80, Lagos Black Heritage Festival, The Macmillan Literary night, PLAY Poetry Festival, Word slam, The Lagos Poetry Festival, and more.
Hannibal Tabu is a journalist, DJ, poet, designer and jerk living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. The award-winner has written comics, poetry, and prose in a long career. His novels are The Crown: Ascension and Faraway (both available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Smashwords), plus the upcoming sci fi political thriller Rogue Nation. His poetry has been published in Vice Verse, A Drumming Between Us, Multiverse: An Anthology of Superhero Poetry, two volumes of Drumvoices Revue, Voices From Leimert Park and Voices From Leimert Park Redux.
Niq Mhlongo is a Sowetan-born writer and a travel journalist who graduated from Wits University with a BA degree (African Literature and Political Studies) in 1997. He has written three novels – Dog Eat Dog (2004), After Tears (2007) and Way Back Home (2013) – and a collection of short stories, Affluenza (2016), and Soweto, Under the Apricot Tree (2018). In 2019 he edited a bestselling collection of essays called Black Tax, Burden or Ubuntu. His novel Dog Eat Dog won the Spanish Literary Award Mar Der Letras Intenecionale in 2006. His collection of short stories, Soweto Under The Apricot Tree won the Herman Charles Bosman Literary Prize For English Fiction and the Nadine Gordimer Short-Story Award /in 2019. His fourth novel Paradise in Gaza will be published in October this year by Kwela Books.
Suzanne Dracius, author and playwright, was born in Fort-de-France, Martinique where she now resides. A writer and former professor of Classics graduate of the Sorbonne, both in France and also at the Université Antilles-Guyane, Suzanne Dracius is the author of novels, short stories, poetry and plays.
She has written the novel, L’autre Qui Danse (1989) a finalist for the Prix du Premier Roman (Seghers ; Editions du Rocher 2007). In the intervening years, Dracius has written two short stories that have been anthologized in American classroom collections of literature in French from beyond l’Hexagone , La Montagne de Feu and La Virago(Diversité, publisher : Houghton-Mifflin, Boston).
Her stories have been published in Rue Monte au Ciel, Coup de coeur FNAC (Desnel Press, Fort-de-France, Martinique, 2003; English translation by James Davis Climb to the Sky, UVA Press, USA, 2012). She published Lumina Sophie dite Surprise (2005) the play which won the Médaille d’Honneur de Schoelcher. Dracius published her first collection of poems, Exquise Déréliction Métisse (Desnel; 2008), which won the Prix Fetkann.
Mélio Tinga, who was born in Maputo, Mozambique, writes fictional stories. He published O Voo dos Fantasmas (Ethale Publishing, 2018), and was part of The Hamburger that Killed Jorge – Anthology (Ethale Publishing, 2017). He also co-organized and participated in Contos e crónicas para ler em casa – Volume I and II (Literatas, 2020). He was a finalist for the Prémio 10 de Novembro, 2019, with the manuscript Outro Dia a Nuvem Evapora. He is a regular contributor to the Revista Literatas Magazine and member of Kuphaluxa Literary Movement. He holds a degree in Visual Education from the Pedagogical University where he works as a communication designer and part time teacher. He is the co-founder of DESIGN Talk and editor of DEZAINE Magazine.
2020 Caine Prize shortlistee Irenosen Okojie was born in Nigeria. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Observer, The Guardian, the BBC and the Huffington Post amongst other publications. Her short stories have been published internationally. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, published by Jacaranda Books won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Edinburgh First Book Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular was shortlisted for the Edgehill Short Story Prize, the Jhalak Prize, the Saboteur Awards and nominated for a Shirley Jackson Award. It was selected by film director Carol Morley as an Observer Summer Read. Her short story collection Nudibranch was selected as one of the best books of the year in the Guardian and Observer Review by Bernardine Evaristo and Diana Evans. Irenosen lives in east London.
Kọ́lá Túbọ̀sún is a Nigerian writer and linguist. His debut collection of poetry Edwardsville by Heart was published by Wisdom’s Bottom Press, Oxford, in 2018. He was a Miles Morland Foundation Scholar in 2019 and has worked as a literary translator, editor, lexicographer over many years. His work has been published in African Writer, Aké Review, Brittle Paper, International Literary Quarterly, Enkare Review, Maple Tree Literary Supplement, Jalada, Popula, Saraba Magazine, The Guardian (Nigerian and UK), ThisisAfrica, among others. He’s currently a Chevening Research Fellow at the British Library in London and can be found at kolatubosun.com.
Poet, filmmaker, and performer Ngwatilo Mawiyoo is the author of two chapbooks, Blue Mothertongue and Dagoretti Corner. Twice shortlisted for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize, her poems are forthcoming in Wasafiri and Pigeonholes, and have appeared in Transition, Poetry is Dead, Johannesburg Review of Books, Obsidian, among others.
Although Mel has been in the creative field for several years, she is placed in the newer generation of writers emerging from Mozambique. Her debut poetry collection Fundação Fernando Leite Couto was released in 2017, and her poetry has since been published in anthologies both in her home country and abroad (South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, etc). Covid-19 put on hold plans of publishing a second book in Brazil Nyabetse de Vidro and a third in Mozambique Palavras em Fuga. Her work has been object of study at primary, secondary and tertiary level schools in Mozambique and Brazil, has been made into theatre pieces, transformed into music and interpreted through dance. Mel is a founder of all female pluri-arts collective Art&Acção, a space where artists create together, provoke debates and do social artivism, exploring the different resources they represent and possess. In addition to poetry, Mel is a musician (piano player and singer) and works at Xiluva Artes School, an Arts School established by herself, where she focuses on working with children with autism.
Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe
Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe called Captain Alexander sows notes and words of resistance and peace, memory and hope. He writes at the tempo of the heart, he inscribes his poems and his steps in the ones, essential, of his mentors and teachers of hope: his poetry sings the range of possibilities, the gift of oneself, the love and the revolt, the quest for the human, “nothing but the human” and the radical refusal to live “arms crossed in the sterile attitude of the spectator”. He has published four books: ADN (Afriques Diasporas Négritude), Le Chant Des Possible (awarded by the Fetkann Poetry Prize and the Paul Verlaine Poetry Prize of the French Academy in 2015), Résidents de la République (Editions La Cheminante, essay written in “state of emergency” in 2016) and De Terre, De Mer, D’amour Et De Feu (Mémoire d’Encrier, 2017).
His first novel, Diên Biên Phù, was published in March 2018 by Sabine Wespieser Editeur, along with his new collection of texts Ci-gît mon coeur, (Editions La Cheminante). Founding member of Collectif On A Slamé Sur La Lune, Captain Alexandre is also a columnist (Africultures, Mediapart, Le Nouveau Magazine Littéraire) and intervenes in schools and universities. Marc Alexandre Oho Bambe was made Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, by presidential decree of May 2, 2017. Captain Alexandre slams his lyrics on stages around the world.
Lu Ain-Zaila is Luciene from one of the peripheries of Brazil. She is a pedagogue (UERJ). Self-published Afrofuturist writer, she launched Duologia Brasil 2408, composed of (In) Truths and (R) Evolution (2016-2017), Sankofia (2018) and Ìségún (2019, Col. Universo Insólito, Monomito Editorial). He writes Afrofutures between metaphorized or not peripheries, mixing ancestry, black culture and history and his black people as well. In addition to articles, essays and related research.
Lamelle Shaw is a Liberian writer based in South Africa. Her first poem, written at the age of 15 about love during war was published in Tears of Fire, an anthology by the U.S. National Library of Poetry. She was a featured poet at Arts Alive International Poetry Festival in Johannesburg, a regular at Spoken Word Rwanda and has had articles published in For Us in the US, Forbes Africa, the Oprah Magazine, Destiny, Real and Succeed in South Africa and The Service Mag and Accelerator in Rwanda. Her poetry is featured in the Liberian literary magazine “Kwee” and the South African Jazz anthology To Breathe into another Voice. Her first collection of poetry, Ashes of My Heart was published by Forte Publications and is available on Amazon.
Update: A previous edition of this blog had Djamila Ibrahim and Chika Unigwe as festival artists. Due to factors beyond their control, they are unable to feature . They are replaced by Koleka Putuma and Iquo DianaAbasi.