African Writers Festival 2021: Connections and Illuminations

African Literature Festival  FEBRUARY 26- 27 2021 VIRTUAL ATTENDANCE Georgia College and State University’s Creative Writing Program, in partnership with the Dean’s Office of the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for International Studies, is hosting a virtual African Writers Festival. This celebration of creativity from Africa brings diverse African writers and thinkers together for two days of conversations, readings, and performances.  After the pioneering efforts of African writers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi Wa Thiong'o, Flora Nwapa and Buchi Emecheta in the 60s and 70s/early 80s, the past two decades have seen an energetic   resurgence of  African writing.  Contemporary African writers are getting great critical notice and are attracting ever increasing readership globally.  FESTIVAL SCHEDULE: READINGS AND CONVERSATIONS FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2021: SESSION 1: POLITICS AND FEMINISMS, 4-7PM EST Zoom opens at 3:50pm 4:00-4:05 EST: Brief Welcome by GCSU MFA Pr

Reading "The Committed", "They Called You Dambudzo," and "Out of the Dark Night"

These are two books I plan to review in March. I already finished reading They Called You Dambudzo , by Flora Veit-Wild, the much anticipated memoir that started with a 2012 essay.  The Committed is by Viet Thanh Nguyen. It will be published on March 2nd, so hopefully I will be able to finish reading it by the end of the launch week.   Viet Thanh Nguyen is the Vietnamese author of The Refugees and The Sympathizer, books I own but have not had a chance to read. So The Committed will be my true entry into his work. I know he is an important writer.  I also just received Out of the Dark Night: Essays on Decolonization by Achille Mbembe (2021). This will my introduction to his work. I hear he is a big deal in African Literature circles, perhaps even in postcolonial theory (and cultural studies?). I will also share my thoughts on this one, but they will be non-academic, personal ruminations. 

New Interview at Mos Oa Tunya Review, a new Zimbabwean Journal

  "Voices of the African Diaspora: An Interview with Emmanuel Sigauke", by Tendai Machingaidze, Editor at Mosi Oa Tunya Review TM: What role do African and other immigrant writers play in shaping cultures and societies around the world? ES: It is refreshing to witness growing trends of inclusivity in publishing. The work is nowhere closer to be complete, but there is growing awareness by readers of perspectives from Africa that do not just present one story about the continent, but as implied by Chimamanda Adichie in her single-story TED talk, a multiplicity of voices. Having worked closely with some of the Diaspora African writers, I know they would be the first ones to say that they are not in it to shape any global anything, or to operate in some kind of representational capacity—they are just writing. But their presence in this global milieu is important as it offers many viewpoints to readers who might be trained to think of writing as one thing and one thing alone. The

Nigeria-Zimbabwe Poetry Jam (2021)

  Collaborative events like this are needed if Africa is to tap into its vast sources of talent. Great work Zimbabwe and Nigeria! 

My Editorial for the New WIN-ZIM Double Issue

  Welcome to 2021!   It is appropriate for WIN-ZIM to start 2021 with a double issue, coming out close to the end of the second month of the year.  As you can see, there has been a lot to cover, a lot to reflect on, and a lot to look forward to.  It wasn't easy to navigate the roller coaster ride that was 2020, and the uncertainties of last year have continued into the new year, but there is hope as science continues to make inroads into ways of handling the pandemic. This trying season has tested our resilience as humans, and has made us reflect and project, and in some cases, we have found it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially because we didn't have quite a handle of what the tunnel looks like. But for artists, especially we poets, writers, playwrights, what has the year meant for our work?  For me, 2020 meant less writing of new projects, but a reflection on past works, as well as some planning for a post-pandemic future of creativity. I found th

African Writers in US Publishing

 Back in 2007, when I started this blog, I was lamenting the scarcity of fiction by African writers in US bookstores.  I knew this very well, for I had spent five of my ten years in the US working for a bookstore, crawling my way to Inventory Manager, where my efforts to expand the African literature collection were frustrated by lack of inventory that was within the US distribution system. But by 2007, signs were showing of books by African writers making their way into the country, some of them becoming instant bestsellers (and bestseller to me may not mean that a lot of Americans were buying them, but that Africans based in the US were buying them). Now you could find works by Chimamanda Adichie, Petina Gappah, Maaza Mengiste, and others. But still, I felt back then that a lot more promotion of the writing was needed. So whenever there was a new publication by an African writer, I celebrated it on this blog, and I got to interview some of the writers on my other blogging platforms. 

Ronasi Fiction Prize for Mototi Primary School (Zimbabwe)

The Ronald Sigauke Memorial Fiction Prize, in collaboration with Chisiya Writers’ Workshop in Mazvihwa, Zimbabwe, announces the first edition of the RONASI Fiction Prize for Grade 6 and 7 students at Mototi Primary school. This prize is offered by the Sigauke family in memory of Ronald Sigauke, who died at the age of 7 in Harare. He was in primary school and had already expressed his dream to get an advanced education.    Although his school in Glen View was just minutes away from home, he had asked his uncle in America to send him a bicycle so he could cycle to school, to get there quicker. He was young, but already was showing signs of a scholar in the making. This competition honors his ambition by making education and bicycles the two themes contestants can base their stories on. Themes:    Contestants will choose one only. 1.        Education and success : Your story should feature characters doing all they can to get an education. This might be through their own effort