Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi wrapped up the fourth day of Season 2 of the Afrolit Sans Frontieres Virtual Literary Festival from Manchester, UK on Thursday, April 23, 2020. She was hosted by Troy Onyango.
The Afrolit Sans Frontiers Virtual Literary Festival, a new initiative by and for writers of African origin, was started in March as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. Like the first edition, Season 2 features some of the leading names in African letters today with curation by Maaza Mengiste and festival founder Zukiswa Wanner. This season sees 16 writers from 14 countries streaming either on Instagram or Facebook from 13 cities in English, French, and Portuguese over eight days under the festival theme “What I Wish You’d Ask Me.”
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor kicked off proceedings on the first day from Nairobi, Kenya followed by festival co-curator Maaza Mengiste alongside Natasha Omokhodion-Kalulu Banda, Remy Ngamije, Bisi Adjapon, and Chike Frankie Edozien closing out the day. The second day started out with Elma Shaw streaming from Kigali, Rwanda before the evening was concluded by Lola Shoneyin from Lagos, Nigeria. The first speaker for the third day was Edwige Renee Dro before Festival founder Zukiswa Wanner alongside Chike Frankie Edozien, Kalaf Epalanga, and Leye Adenle wrapped up.
Sulaiman Addonia was the first speaker on Thursday streaming from Brussels, Belgium followed later in the day by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. Makumbi is a Ugandan fiction writer whose first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013. Her short story, Let’s Tell This Story Properly won the regional (Africa) and Global Commonwealth Short story prize 2014. Her short story collection Manchester Happened (for the UK/Commonwealth publication) and Let’s Tell This Story Properly (for US/Canada publication) came out in spring 2019 and was shortlisted for The Big Book prize: Harper’s Bazaar. Her second novel, The First Woman for UK/Commonwealth and A Girl is a Body of Water for USA/Canada publication, comes out in autumn 2020. She is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize 2018.
The author, streaming on Instagram from Manchester, UK, started the evening reading an excerpt from her short story collection Manchester Happened before the event host Troy Onyango took charge. Picking questions from his own arsenal as well as some from the dozens of Instagram users for the author, those watching online got one of the best evenings of the festival yet.
Going over a lot of ground, Makumbi revealed a lot about her writing routine, the feminism in her novels, how the names of her books were picked as well as sharing a hilarious look at Memoirs of Anamaso a short story told from the view of a dog. She shared that she takes at least three years to edit each of her novels and much more over the almost one hour that the session ran.
You can watch the video of Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi in the session below.