Earlier this month, we made our way to Kaduna, northern Nigeria, for the second edition of Kaduna Books and Arts Festival (also referred to as Kabafest). After a long journey from London to Abuja to Kaduna, we immediately whisked ourselves into action to deliver the first of our two literary and creative writing workshops at the festival at Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation. Prior to this though, Zaahida introduced Afrikult.during the festival’s opening ceremony while Marcelle was still on the road from Abuja.
Peter Kimani is an award-winning Kenyan author and journalist. He works across a broad spectrum of genres, from fiction to non-fiction, poetry and plays. His latest novel, Dance of the Jakaranda, was published in New York in February 2017, to great critical acclaim. Peter Kimani received his formal education in Kenya, the United Kingdom and the United States, where he earned a doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston in 2014.
This year, Afrikult. had the privilege to host a book club at Africa Utopia 2018 entitled Poetry Meets Pan-Africanism. We focused on the contributions of women poets to the Pan-African movement whose history largely focuses on male figures like Nkrumah, Sankara and Garvey or Senghor, Césaire and Diop when we think of the Négritude movement. Continue reading “‘Poetry meets Pan-Africanism: Africa Utopia Book Club’”
Richard Oduor Oduku is a post-cynical humanist, a researcher, writer, editor and poet. He studied Biomedical Science and Technology and works as a Research Consultant, in Nairobi. He has been published widely and was longlisted for the 2015 BSFA Awards, and shortlisted for the 2017 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. He is a Founding Member of Jalada Africa, is Program Manager for the Trust, and was the Festival Coordinator for the 2017 Jalada Mobile Festival. He is a Board Member of Youth on the Move (NGO, Kenya), and Nonfiction Editor at Panorama – The Journal for Intelligent Travel, among others.
Hanna Ali is set to take the literary scene by storm with her dreamlike prose in her debut publication, “Sheekadii Noloshayada” / The Story of Us, a collection of four short stories published in Somali. Ali is the first contemporary writer to publish her debut in the Somali language as both in audio and e-book format. Hanna’s works have been described to accurately capture the unspoken tensions, hopes and wishes of displaced people. The unique, singular stories gently wrap themselves around your mind like your favourite melancholic song. Hanna truly shows: where there is pain, there is beauty. We got to review the English language version of her collection.
With lyrical flair, Peter Kimani whisks the reader on a journey of the Iron Snake railway as it travels from the coast and cuts through dense forestry. The advent of the railway is the advent of Kenya’s colonisation, which beckons indentured labourers from India to its shores, a country also currently colonised by the British. In its complicated tracks, Kimani masterfully lays one story of Kenya’s history, probing ideas of national identity and belonging, and love lost through the beginnings of the Lunatic Express to the Big Man leading the country towards her independence. Continue reading “Bite-size Review: Dance of the Jakaranda | Peter Kimani”
Born in Germany, raised in Nigeria and educated in the UK, Gersy Ifeanyi Ejimofo is founder of Digitalback Books, a virtual library platform offering a comprehensive and diverse collection of African stories from around the world. The seed of DBB was planted many years ago when Heinemann announced the discontinuation of the African Writers Series. Recognising that Africans both on the continent and in the Diaspora need to take a more proactive approach to their creative content, Gersy left her career in the city to gain more hands on experience in the publishing industry. She has since worked on many digital projects for global publishers developing and implementing digital strategies internationally. Gersy has a BSc from the University of Birmingham and a Masters from the London School of Economics.
Sumayya Lee was born and raised in Durban, South Africa. She has worked as an Islamic Studies teacher, Montessori Directress and Teacher of English as a Foreign Language. Her debut, The Story of Maha (Kwela, 2007) was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book – Africa and Longlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction Award. It is currently on the undergraduate Curriculum at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Her second novel, Maha, Ever After was published by Kwela in 2009. She has also been a judge for the Young Muslim Writers Awards, for the past five years. Sumayya has been a mentor on the Writivism programme and has judged the annual Writivism Short Story Prize She currently serves as the Writivism Mentoring and Residencies coordinator.
William Du Bois is a poet, performer and the lead member of Trotro Vibes, a group of performers who ‘bring art to the everyday people’. In fact, the artists’ mobile performance of songs and poetry is inspired by Ghana’s most used public transportation: Trotro. Their aim is to educate, inform, advocate and entertain commuters who use this mean of transportation.