Africa Writes 2019
Dates: Friday 5th July - Sunday 7th July 2019
Venue: British Library, 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB
Africa Writes is back this summer with an exciting programme showcasing the best new writing from the continent and the diaspora, Friday 5th July to Sunday 7th July at the British Library.
We are delighted to welcome Chigozie Obioma as the festival headline author for 2019. The Man Booker shortlisted novelist will discuss his writing, Igbo mythology, fatherhood, masculinity and stories of the everyday, closing the three-day event on Sunday, 7th July. The event opens with an evocative staged reading of The Fishermen, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan. Obioma will then discuss his debut novel which inspired the play, and his new novel An Orchestra of Minorities. Set between Nigeria and Cyprus, the novel is ‘a heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination’.
Not only that, but we'll be bringing two other headline events as part of the festival. A special panel of incredible women writers will join us on Saturday 6th July to discuss the recently launched anthology New Daughters of Africa - editor Margaret Busby and contributors Bernardine Evaristo, Nadifa Mohamed, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ and Namwali Serpell.
On Friday 5th July, the festival will open with Our Bodies Speak Poetry, an evening of intergenerational poetry and story-telling exploring the body as a site of power, possibilities and resistance.
Friday 5 July, 19:00 – 20:30
£12 / £8 / £7.20 for RAS Members
An evening of intergenerational poetry and story-telling exploring the body as a site of power, possibilities and resistance.
What does the body mean to you? Who draws the boundaries of what the body is or what it could potentially be? Join us for an evening of poetry and story-telling exploring the relationship we have with our bodies (poetical, physical, political, fantastical) and the shifting perceptions across generations. Line-up for the night to be confirmed.
Image: Koleka Putuma, photo by Andy Mkosi
Saturday 6 July, 19:00 – 20:30
£15 / £12 / £10 / £9 for RAS Members
Celebrating Black women’s writing in a landmark anthology
Twenty-five years after Margaret Busby’s landmark anthology Daughters of Africa, this new companion volume brings together the work of over 200 writers from across the globe – Antigua to Zimbabwe, Angola to the USA – to celebrate a unifying heritage, illustrate an uplifting sense of sisterhood and showcase the remarkable range of creativity from the African diaspora, particularly in the past 25 years. Comprising a wealth of genres and styles, this anthology speaks to the strong links that endure from generation to generation as well as the common obstacles that women writers of colour continue to face as they negotiate issues of race, gender and class.
In this event, four contributors to the new anthology, Bernardine Evaristo, Nadifa Mohamed, Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀ and Namwali Serpell, join Margaret Busby in conversation to celebrate the global sweep, diversity and extraordinary literary achievements of Black women writers.
Presented in partnership with the Royal Society of Literature.
Sunday 7 July, 15:30 – 18:30
£20 / £18 / £15 / £12 for RAS Members
A double-bill of mythic Igbo traditions including a staged reading and a conversation with Chigozie Obioma
Man Booker shortlisted novelist Chigozie Obioma discusses his writing, Igbo mythology and stories of the everyday. In a conversation with readings from The Fishermen and An Orchestra of Minorities, we explore blurred lines between myth and reality, thoughts on fatherhood, and reworking ancient Greek classics with Igbo cosmology. The evening opens with evocative staged reading of The Fishermen, adapted by Gbolahan Obisesan.
Chigozie Obioma was born in 1986 in Akure, Nigeria, and currently lives in the United States. He is an assistant professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut novel, The Fishermen, is winner of the inaugural FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction, the NAACP Image Awards for Debut Literary Work, and the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction (Los Angeles Times Book Prizes); and was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize 2015, as well as for several other prizes in the US and UK. Obioma was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015.
The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma, Adapted for the stage by Gbolahan Obisesan.
Based on the Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel by one of Africa’s major new voices, New Perspectives presents a staged reading Chigozie Obioma’s powerful allegory of brotherhood, vengeance and fate in a new adaptation by Fringe First-winning playwright Gbolahan Obisesan.
Tickets include both the play and conversation. Suitable for ages 16+
Image: Chigozie Obioma by Jason Keith
The rich and vibrant daytime programme includes book launches, panel discussions, performances, masterclasses, education events, family workshops and an international book fair. Weekend and Day tickets
are now also available to buy via the British Library website, and the full festival programme will be announced in May.
Africa Writes London 2019 is supported by Arts Council England, British Council, Miles Morland Foundation and hosted by the British Library.