Africa Writes 2016

This weekend from July 1st – 3rd London’s British Library will host the 5th edition of Africa Writes, an annual literary festival organised by the Royal African Society, the UK’s main African organisation. The association seeks to foster a better understanding of Africa in the UK and throughout the world, exploring the continent’s history, politics, culture, problems and potential by disseminating knowledge to positively impact Africa’s development and celebrate the diversity and depth of African culture. Every year the event, which is the largest African literature festival in the UK, presents new and established talent from the African continent through book launches, readings, author appearances, panel discussions, youth and children workshops, as well as other activities.


Africa Writes 2016

Nawal El Saadawi


Previous editions have hosted some of the biggest names in African literature, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2012), Ngugi wa Thiong’o (2013), Ama Ata Aidoo (2014), Wole Soyinka (2014) and Ben Okri (2015), as well as up-and-coming talent, like poet Warsan Shire (2013, 2014), who recently featured in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade. This year over 50 authors, poets, publishers, academics, and performers will participate in the festival, which will be headlined by Egyptian feminist writer Nawal El Saadawi whose work has been
translated into over forty languages and includes titles such as Woman at Point Zero and Women and Sex (banned in Egypt for almost two decades).

Other programme highlights include: Meet the Publishers, a Dragon’s Den-style pitching event for aspiring writers; the annual Africa in Translation symposium curated by Wangui wa Goro; events featuring the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing shortlisted writers – Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria), Tope Folarin (Nigeria), Bongani Kona (Zimbabwe), and Lidudumalingani (South Africa); and audience favourite African Books To Inspire. Africa Writes 2016 book launches include: Taty Went West by South Africa’s new sci-fi talent Nikhil Singh; The Woman Next Door by Baijan-Nigerian-South African Yewande Omotoso; How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories (Vol 2) by Nigerian Chuma Nwokolo; and several titles by Congo’s writer in exile Kama Sywor Kamanda.


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