Here are the writers who will feature at the second season of Afrolit Sans Frontieres Virtual Literary Festival from April 20-27, 2020.
Afrolit Sans Frontiers Virtual Literary Festival, a new initiative for writers of African origin, was started as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic international lockdown in March. Like in its first edition, Season 2 of the festival, starting on Monday, April 20 and ending on the 27th, will feature some of the leading names in African letters today with curation by Maaza Mengiste and Zukiswa Wanner. There will be 16 writers from 14 countries streaming from 13 cities in English, French, and Portuguese over the eight days of the festival. The writers are Tanella Boni, Abdourahman Waberi, Ondjaki, Fred Khumalo, Lola Shoneyin, Mona Eltahawy, Chris Abani, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu, Sulaiman Addonia, Hemley Boum, Ishmael Beah, Napo Masheane, and Elma Shaw.
Below are the writers’ bios.
Tanella Boni is Professor of Philosophy (University of Cocody-Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire), as well as a poet, novelist and essayist. She has published around twenty works including Labyrinthe: Poèmes (1984), Une Vie de Crabe (1990), De L’autre Côté Du Soleil (1991), Les Baigneurs Du Lac Rose (1995), Matins De Couvre Feu (2005), Les Negres N’Iront Jamais Au Paradis (2006), La Ou Il Fait Si Clair En Moi (2017), Habiter Selon Tanella Boni (2018), Wangari Maathai, Celle Qui Guérit La Terre (2018), and Miriam Makeba, Une Voix Pour La Liberté (2018),
She was a programme director at the Collège International de Philosophie in Paris from 1992 to 1998, and was also Director of Francophonie for the Ivorian Ministry of Culture from 2000 to 2002. Dr Boni has been a member of the International Network of Women Philosophers since 2007, and a member of the Management Committee for the FISP (International Federation of Philosophical Societies) since August 2008.
Dr Boni’s centres of interest are women’s issues and gender, human rights, arts and cultures, the relationship between ethics and politics, and the place of Africa in globalisation.
Tanella Boni will be streaming from Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
An acclaimed author from Djibouti, Abdourahman Waberi has published several books of fiction (including In The United States of Africa, Transit) non-fiction, poetry and Sankara, a film script. His work has been translated into many languages and he has been a recipient of many awards and fellowships, including a Villa Médicis – Académie de France Rome Fellowship and a DAAD Berliner Kunstlerprogram. A current columnist for the French newspaper Le Monde, Waberi teaches French and Francophone Literature and Creative Writing at George Washington University in Washington DC.
Abdourahman Waberi will be streaming from Paris, France.
Ondjaki has published four novels, three collections of short stories, two collections of poetry and three children’s books. His literary debut came in 2002 with the novella O Assobiador (The Whistler), which was followed up with the childhood memoir Bom dia Camaradas (Good Morning, Comrades) in 2003. Since then he has also published Transparent City (2012), Uma Escuridão Bonita (2013), Sonhos Azuis Pelas Esquinas (2014), Há Gente em Casa (2018).
Ondjaki has been awarded a number of important prizes, among them the prestigious Jabuti Prize. His novel Transparent City was awarded the Saramago Prize 2013, Prix Transfuge 2015 and Prix Littérature Monde 2016. He was also selected among the top 39 African writers under the age of 40 for the Africa39 anthology project.
His books have been translated to French, Spanish, Italian, German, English, Chinese and Swedish.
Ondjaki will be streaming from Luanda, Angola.
Lola Shoneyin’s works include three books of poems: So All the Time I Was Sitting on an Egg (1997), Song of a Riverbird (2002) and For the Love of Flight (2010); and three children’s books titled Mayowa and the Masquerades (2010), Do As You are Told, Baji (2019) and Iyaji, the Housegirl (2019). Her debut novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives was nominated for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2011 and went on to win the PEN Oakland 2011 Josephine Miles Literary Award and the Ken Saro Wiwa Prose Prize.
Shoneyin is the founder of Book Buzz Foundation—an NGO that is devoted to promoting literacy, creating reading spaces, and organising cultural And Arts-focused events such as the Ake Arts & Book Festival, and the Kaduna Book & Arts Festival which takes place in Northern Nigeria.
In 2016, she founded Ouida Books, a Nigerian publishing house. She also runs one of the best-stocked bookstores in Nigeria. Shoneyin is currently working on her second novel, and a series of children’s picture books set in northern Nigeria.
Lola Shoneyin will be streaming from Lagos, Nigeria.
Fred Khumalo is a writer based in Johannesburg, South Africa with eleven books. They include The Longest March, Dancing the Death Drill, Talk of the Town and Other Stories (short stories), Bitches’ Brew (novel), Touch My Blood (autobiography), Ngenxa yeMendi (a Zulu novel), Seven Steps to Heaven (novel), Zulu Boy Gone Crazy (essays), UManzekhofi nezakhe (a collection of Zulu short stories), The Lighter Side of Life on Robben Island (essays) #ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants (essays).
Dancing the Death Drill based upon the sinking of the SS Mendi during First World War, won the 2019 Humanities and Social Sciences Award. A stage adaptation of it was performed to rave reviews at the Royal Opera House in London, and also at the Bergen International Festival in Norway, in 2019. He has been short listed twice for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, and once for the Short Story Day Africa Award.
Fred Khumalo will be streaming from Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-American feminist. She is the author of The Seven Necessary Sins For Women and Girls (2019) and Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution (2015).
She is a commentator whose opinion columns have appeared in newspapers around the world, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian and others, and is a frequent guest analyst on television and radio.
She is an outspoken critic of the military backed regime in Egypt and of successive US administrations which have propped up that regime. She frequently writes about the growing danger of patriarchal authoritarians around the world – such as Donald Trump in the US and Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt – and is adamant that feminism is the most effective way to fight their threat.
Mona Eltahawy will be streaming from Montreal, Canada.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes
A 2007 recipient of Ghana’s ACRAG award, Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a writer, editor and socio-cultural commentator. He is the author of the hybrid novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, which is translated into Dutch, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Catalan and Japanese. Nii Ayikwei’s book of poetry, The Makings of You (Peepal Tree) includes the poem Barter, which was used in the 2013 Poems on the Underground London series.
Following roles at the University of Southampton, California State University and the University of Aberystwyth, he was founding director of the Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing in Accra, before taking his current role as Producer of Literature and Talks at Brighton Festival. Nii Ayikwei writes for children under the name K. P. Kojo and was selected as one of Africa’s 39 most promising authors of the new generation for the World Book Capital Africa 39 Project in 2014.
He splits his time between his home in Ghana and spells in Europe, where he produces literature events and teaches.
Nii Ayikwei will be streaming from London, UK.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor
Author of well-received Dust (Knopf, 2014), and Dragonfly Sea (Knopf, 2019), available in different translations, Kenyan Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor’s other stories and essays can be found in numerous literary magazines, anthologies and journals. Currently locked-down (ish), quarantined and observing social distance in Nairobi, she hopes she will emerge from the season of the virus with a draft of a novel and the basics of a foreign language acquired online.
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor will be streaming from Nairobi, Kenya.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan fiction writer. Her 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 collection of short stories called 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. She is a Cheuse International Writing Fellow (2019). 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 has a PhD from Lancaster University and is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University. Jennifer is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize 2018.
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi will be streaming from Manchester, UK.
Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu
Resilient, Afro-feminist, Nappy, activist with words, the arts and letters, Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu is recognized for her skills both in running workshops and training with her peers, involving active listening and respect for opinions.
She is the writer of the memoir Samantha à Kinshasa: Autobiographie, Carnet De La Création on the Congolese visual artist Francis Mapuya, and Mes Obsessions: j’y pense et puis je crie!
She is also the author of the show Bibish in Kinshasa, an adaptation of Samantha à Kinshasa: Autobiographie, reissued in Montreal in February 2015 by Recto Verso, created at Espace Libre in a staging by Philippe Ducros, and trainer in March 2016 of the workshop Write elsewhere organized by CEAD.
Marie Louise Bibish Mumbu will be streaming from Montreal, Canada.
Hemley Boum was born in Cameroon where she undertook anthropology studies before pursuing international trade studies in Lille. She is the writer of Le Clan Des Femmes (2010), Si D’aimer (2012), and Les Maquisards (2016). She received the Prix Kourouma 2015 and Prix du livre engage de la Cene littéraire (2016) for Les Maquisards.
After a first position in Paris, she returned to Cameroon as a key account manager for the Cameroonian subsidiary of a French company. An explorer of her own country, the discovery of agro-food, cotton and forestry companies greatly enriched her vision of Cameroonian society and the international exploitation of local resources. Subsequently, she lived in several African countries before settling in Paris and finding the form that suits her best to enter writing. Hemley Boum crystallizes in her novels urbanity, tradition and history, captured in everyday intimate relationships which gives you the opportunity to see and think from within an Africa far from the clichés.
Hemley Boum will be streaming from Paris, France.
After experiencing the 1980 coup d’état as a child in Liberia, Elma Shaw was set on a path to explore and write about issues of peace and justice. In 2008, her award-winning novel, Redemption Road, was a catalyst for healing dialogue after the Liberian civil war, and the inspiration for a documentary (The Road to Redemption) about female fighters who survived the battlefields.
Elma has written for Sea Breeze Journal of Contemporary Liberian Writings, Liberia Travel & Life Magazine, Pambazuka News, and other publications. A long-time champion for women and girls, she supports girls’ education and recently worked with The What To Expect Foundation as lead writer for Big Belly Business—a Liberian woman’s guide to a healthy pregnancy.
In 2015, in recognition of her literary and humanitarian work, Elma was nominated for The African Sheroes Award for Outstanding Writer/Novelist. She currently lives in Rwanda, where she’s working on a new book, dancing daily, devouring exciting books with her African literature book club, and helping Africa’s changemakers become authors too.
Elma Shaw will be streaming from Kigali, Rwanda.
Chris Abani is a novelist, poet, essayist, screenwriter and playwright. His fiction includes The Secret History of Las Vegas (Penguin 2014), Song For Night (Akashic, 2007), The Virgin of Flames (Penguin, 2007), Becoming Abigail (Akashic, 2006), GraceLand (FSG, 2004), and Masters of the Board (Delta, 1985).
His poetry collections are Sanctificum (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), There Are No Names for Red (Red Hen Press, 2010), Feed Me The Sun – Collected Long Poems (Peepal Tree Press, 2010), Hands Washing Water (Copper Canyon, 2006), Dog Woman (Red Hen, 2004), Daphne’s Lot (Red Hen, 2003) and Kalakuta Republic (Saqi, 2001).
He is the recipient of the PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award, the Prince Claus Award, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, a California Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, a PEN Beyond the Margins Award, the PEN Hemingway Book Prize and a Guggenheim Award.
His work has been translated into French, Italian, Spanish, German, Swedish, Romanian, Hebrew, Macedonian, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Dutch, Bosnian and Serbian.
His critical and personal essays have been featured in books on art and photography, as well as Witness, Parkett, The New York Times, O Magazine, and Bomb.
Chris Abani will be streaming from Chicago, USA.
Sulaiman Addonia is a Eritrean-Ethiopian-British novelist. His first novel, The Consequences of Love, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, was translated into more than 20 languages. Silence is My Mother Tongue, his second novel, has been longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Fiction. He currently lives in Brussels where he has launched a creative writing academy for refugees and asylum seekers, the Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (In Exile), & co-founded with Specimen Press a new literary prize, To Speak Europe in Different Languages: Hybrid and collective writing competition.
Sulaiman Addonia will be streaming from Brussels, Belgium.
Ishmael Beah, who was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, is the New York Times bestselling author of A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and Radiance of Tomorrow, A Novel both published by Farrar Straus & Giroux. His newest work, Little Family, a novel, is a profound and tender portrayal of the connections we forge to survive the fate we’re dealt, Little Family marks the further blossoming of a unique global voice.
Ishmael Beah was appointed UNICEF’s first Advocate for Children Affected by War on 20 November 2007. In 2007, he also founded the Ishmael Beah foundation dedicated to helping children affected by war reintegrate into society and improve their lives.
Ishmael Beah will be streaming from Los Angeles.
Napo Masheane is a playwright, poet, director, producer, translator and performer on both national and international stages. A founding member of Feela Sistah! Spoken Word Collective and with its demise, went to become one of South Africa’s leading black female theatre makers, after her provocative and humorous plays, My Bum Is Genetic Deal With It and The Fat Black Women Sing. She is the winner of The Mbokodo Award (2011), Pan African Language Award, (2014) and South African Film and Television Award- SAFDA (2016). Between 2017/18, she held the position of Deputy Artistic Director at The South African State Theatre, where she wrote and directed, KHWEZI… Say My Name, a stage adaptation of Redi Tlhabi’s book: KHWEZI…The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.
Masheane’s work credits include but are not limited to working with, The Market Theatre, Soweto Theatre, Theater Siberia (Holland), Theatre Under The Tree (Reunion Island), Maitisong Theatre (Botwasana), (HIFA) and Intwasa Arts Festival (Zimbabwe), University of Pretoria, TUT, University of Udine (Italy), University of California (Los Angeles), Jungel Theater (Germany), AfroVibes (Amsterdam), FestivaleLetteratura Montova (Italy), BRICS Cultural Festival (China), Wuzhen Theatre Festival (China), and Scenkonst Biennalen 2019 (Sweden). Masheane has three choreopoem-collections, Caves Speak in Metaphors, Fat Songs For My Girlfriends and Heartbeat Of The Rain. While picked up on the international circuit was one of her monologues performed by leading actor, Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) at Royal Court, London. Presently she is a standing advisory board member of Stockholm University Of The Arts, under performing arts and the Managing Director of Village Gossips Productions and The TRIBE Collective.
Napo Masheane will stream from Johannesburg, South Africa.