Lamelle Shaw kicked off the second day of Season 4 of Afrolit Sans Frontières streaming from Johannesburg, South Africa on June 30, 2020. She was hosted by Troy Onyango.
Afrolit Sans Frontières, a virtual literary festival for writers of African origin, started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown. The festival format is two sessions a day with an artist moderated by a host on Instagram Live. 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 which started on June 29, has already had Ngwatilo Mawiyoo in Nairobi, Kenya and Hannibal Tabu in Los Angeles, USA. The second day of the festival started off with Lamelle Shaw, a Liberian writer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her first poem, written at the age of 15 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 and a regular at Spoken Word Rwanda. Her articles have been 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 (2017) was published by Forte Publications.
The session was started by host Troy Onyango who invited his guest Lamelle Shaw onto the Instagram stream. Lamelle read a poem from her 2017 collection Ashes of My Heart; she shared several poems over the one hour she gave to the audience. The discussions between the two, with prompting from the commenters online, went from how the poet’s mental health influenced her writing, how music and her writing are interlinked, the poets and writers who have inspired her work, and even her skincare routine.
You can watch the whole session below.