Hawa Jande Golakai

Hawa Jande Golakai was the final participant on the second day of Afrolit Sans Frontières on Facebook from Monrovia, Liberia on March 24, 2020.

Afrolit Sans Frontières is an initiative from writers of African origin curated by Zukiswa Wanner. Sixteen writers from 10 African countries are sharing their work from 15 different cities in English, French, Lingala, and Portuguese to a global virtual audience online over eight days. The first day of the festival had Richard Ali Mutu in Kinshasa before crime fiction writer Leye Adenle engaged from his London base. The second day started with Rémy Ngamije talking about his work from his Windhoek, Namibia base. Closing out the day was Hawa Jande Golakai.

Hawa Jande Golakai is not new to anyone who follows the African literary scene with her two novels The Lazarus Effect (our review) and The Score. She is a laureate of the Africa39 list of most promising writers, winner of the Brittle Paper Award 2017 for nonfiction, longlisted for the NOMMO Award for speculative fiction 2019 and nominated three times for her crime novels. She is a 2019-20 winner of the Miles Morland Scholarship for her upcoming science fantasy novel Spectral. Hawa’s work has been published in numerous places, including Granta, BBC, and Omenana.

The Liberian, who was doing her session from her bathroom away from the prying eyes of her toddler, started by acknowledging those who started the festival. She then went on to read a sex scene from her book The Lazarus Effect which left some of us hot and bothered (not this blogger of course hehe).

The reading gave way to the novelist and essayist giving her opinions on a variety of topics that she was knowledgeable about including how her science and her fiction interact, whether she would be writing any more nonfiction, and the possibility of a third in the Voinjama “Vee” Johnson series that is The Lazarus Effect and The Score. She spoke about the work that she is currently in the middle of, the book that she won the Miles Morland Scholarship for earlier this year.

It was an intimate session with one of the continent’s leading writers in an environment that she was comfortable in. You can watch the stream on Facebook below from Golakai’s home.

Bonus. With fears of power being an issue, Hawa sent in a pre-recorded video of her reading from her debut novel The Lazarus Effect. You can watch it below.