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Archive for the ‘Zambia’ Category

International Women’s Day: seven African woman writers you should have read by 2017

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a universal commemoration of the social, economic, political and cultural achievement of women.

The following quote by Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie encapsulates both the necessity of celebrating a day committed to the empowerment of women, and how writing can aid the continuing empowerment of women worldwide:

“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.”

Here follows a list of African woman writers whose stories matter:

The Translator

1. Leila Aboulela: Acclaimed – one of the most suitable adjectives to describe Sudanese author Leila Aboulela. She has published five novels in 16 years, wowing literary critics with her debut The Translator, which was nominated for the Orange Prize and chosen as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. Her novel second novel, Minaret, also received a nomination for the Orange Prize and her third novel, Lyrics Alley made the longlist for the same prize in 2011. Lyrics Alley was awarded the Fiction Winner of Scottish Book Awards and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize. In 2000, Aboulela was awarded the coveted Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story The Museum. Aboulela’s work has been translated into 14 languages, and is predominantly influenced by the Muslim faith and her experiences of cross-culturalisation.

Nervous Conditions

2. Tsitsi Dangarembga: Zimbabwean author, poet, activist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga was born in Bulawayao and schooled in England. Her debut, the semi-autobiographical Nervous Conditions (1988), is themed around race, colonialism, and gender in post-colonial and present-day Zimbabwe. Nervous Conditions was awarded the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1989, and is still regarded as a significant contribution to African feminism and post-colonialist narratives. (PS – Dangarembga will be delivering a Women’s Day lecture in Johannesburg on whether feminism is divisive, unAfrican and anti-Black this coming Friday.)


3. Lauren Beukes: When it comes to writing about contemporary sci-fi cum fantasy cum speculative fiction, no one does it quite like Lauren Beukes. With a slew of awards behind her futuristically inclined pen, including the Arthur C. Clarke award for the perennial favourite and much-lauded Zoo City, Beukes has established herself as a South African author to be reckoned with. Her debut novel, the Cape Town-based cyberpunk Moxyland (2008) was nominated for the South African Sunday Times Fiction Prize; 2013′s time travel thriller The Shining Girls was the recipient of four prestigious South African literary awards; and – lest we forget – 2014′s Broken Monsters was commended by The Guardian for its unique adoption of the horror trope as means to explain the crazy reality we live in. And no one quite does crazy reality like Lauren Beukes…

A World of Strangers

4. Nadine Gordimer: A fearless political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature, Nadine Gordimer garnered international recognition for her work which dealt with moral and racial issues, and a constant questioning of power relations and truth during South Africa’s apartheid regime. Gordimer’s The Late Bourgeois World, A World of Strangers, Burger’s Daughter and July’s People were either banned or placed under censorship by the apartheid government, owing to the strong anti-apartheid stance and her criticism of racial division. Gordimer is not only one of the most notable literary figures to emerge from South Africa, but also one of its most notable women.


5. Kopano Matlwa: Addressing race, class and colonisation in modern-day Johannesburg, Kopano Matlwa had South African bibliophiles buzzing with her debut novel Coconut, published in 2007. Coconut was awarded the European Union Literary Award in 2006/07 and also won the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa in 2010. Her second novel, Spilt Milk (2010), published to equally great acclaim, delivers an allegorical perspective on the born-free generation. Matlwa’s recent Period Pains explores social issues from the point of view of a young female protagonist, delivering an insightful and honest look at growing up in a post-1994 South Africa.

We Need New Names

6. NoViolet Bulawayo: The first black African woman and the first Zimbabwean to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, NoViolet Bulawayo rose to international acclaim with her debut novel We Need New Names (2013). Born Elizabeth Thsele, Bulawayo’s literary approach towards displacement, childhood, globalisation, social class and gender delivered subtle, yet powerful commentary on the existential realities of Africa. Named a ‘five under 35′ by the National Book Foundation in 2012, the recipient of the Caine Prize Award for African Writing in 2011, and a Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award winner for We Need New Names, there’s no stopping NoViolet Bulawayo.


7. Chimamanda Adichie: No ‘must-read-African-woman-writers-list’ will be complete without mentioning this critically acclaimed author and MacArthur Genius Grant recipient whose TEDx-talk on
feminism was appropriated in Beyoncé’s “Flawless”. Mense: take note of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. As a globally renowned writer, an advocate for gender equality, and vocal supporter of the representation of African culture in the international literary sphere, Adichie is one of the most influential authors – and women – of the 21st century. Viva, Chimamanda, viva.

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Yewande Omotoso and Fiona Melrose longlisted for Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction

The longlist for this year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced on Wednesday, coinciding with International Women’s Day.

16 female authors appear on the list, including Margaret Atwood, Annie Proulx, Rose Tremain and local authors Yewande Omotoso and Fiona Melrose.

Of the 187 entries, Omotoso received recognition for her 2016 novel The Woman Next Door; a book exploring the relationship between neighbours Hortensia James and Marion Agostino – one is black, one white. Both are successful, recently widowed career women. Both despise one another.

One day the two adversaries are forced together due to unforeseen circumstances. The bickering is replaced with lively debate and the discovery of memories shared, yet the question remains whether this sudden connection could transform into a genuine friendship, or if it is too late to expect Hortensia and Marion to change.

Read an excerpt from Omotoso’s short story Cupboards in the Dark, which appeared on BooksLIVE in September 2016 for a sneak preview of what to expect from this talented writer.

Fiona Melrose is longlisted for her debut novel, Midwinter, set in both Suffolk and Zambia.

Father and son, Landyn and Vale Midwinter, are haunted by their mutual sense of grief brought about by the years the family spent farming in Zambia, where Vale’s mother died.

Confronted by the past, Landyn and Vale’s relationship explores guilt, grief, and the lengths we are willing to go for love. The podcast of Michele Magwood’s interview with Melrose, during which they discussed Midwinter and Melrose’s dyslexia, can be listened to on Soundcloud. Magwood’s review of this astounding debut can be read here.

Chairwoman of the award’s judging panel, Tessa Ross, commented on the diversity of the entries received, in addition to the necessity of women’s writing:

“What’s happening in the world is making us even more aware of how important it is that women’s voices are heard and that we talk about the rights of women and we support each other.

“We were looking for excellence in all ways, including stories that resonate with women and readers living now, even if they are not set in the present, because the exciting thing about reading is that it wakes you up to the world you are living in.”

Nigerian author Ayobami Adebayo’s 2017 novel Stay With Me also appears on the longlist.

A shortlist of the entries will be announced on April third, and the final awards ceremony will take place on June seventh at London’s Royal Festival Hall.

View the complete longlist here.

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12 writers from 6 African countries converge in Zambia for the Caine Prize Workshop

Caine Prize Workshop
The Ghost RunnerLusaka Punk and Other StoriesWe Need New NamesRemember the African Skies
A Memory This Size and Other StoriesBorn on a TuesdayThe True Story of David Munyakei, Goldenberg WhistleblowerThe ReactiveThe Gonjon Pin and Other Stories


12 writers from six African countries have converged at the Chaminuka Lodge near Lusaka, Zambia, where they will spend 13 days (18 March-29 March) to writ­­e, read and discuss work in progress and to learn from award-winning author Jamal Mahjoub, the writer also known as Parker Bilal, and Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE, Caine Prize Deputy Chairperson, literary critic, editor and broadcaster.

This year’s participants include 2015 Caine Prize winner Namwali Serpell (Zambia), as well as 2011 winner NoViolet Bulawayo (Zimbabwe); Chilufya Chilangwa (Zambia); 2013 winner Tope Folarin (Nigeria); 2013 and 2015 shortlistee Elnathan John (Nigeria); 2012 and 2014 shortlistee Billy Kahora (Kenya); Bwanga Kapumpa (Zambia); 2015 shortlistee FT Kola (South Africa); Kafula Mwila (Zambia); 2015 shortlistee Masande Ntshanga (South Africa); Timwa Lipenga (Malawi); and 2014 winner Okwiri Oduor (Kenya).

Mahjoub, who along with Ellah Allfrey will facilitate the workshop this year, said: “The annual workshop allows writers a unique chance to develop their work and to see themselves as part of a literary community. It is always exciting to meet new writers and to help them realise their potential. The workshop is, in my view, one of the most important aspects of the Caine Prize.”

During the workshop, the writers will be expected to write a short story for the 2016 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published in the UK by New Internationalist in the summer, and subsequently by a network of co-publishers. Alongside Interlink in the USA, eight African publishers receive a print-ready PDF to print in their country, they include: Jacana Media (South Africa), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Kwani? (Kenya), Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana), FEMRITE (Uganda), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia), amaBooks (Zimbabwe) and Langaa (Cameroon).

The workshop will incorporate a visit to local schools and a public event.

Kapumpa, Ntshanga and John have been tweeting from the workshop:

Caine Prize director Lizzy Attree said: “As Namwali Serpell won the 2015 Caine Prize we are pleased to bring the workshop, for the first time, to her home in Zambia. We are also very pleased to be supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York.”

Jonathan Taylor, Chair of the Caine Prize Council, added: “We are hugely grateful for the support of Carnegie Corporation of New York for this important workshop in Zambia, which is likely again to be the launch pad for many successful literary careers.”

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John Cole-Morgan Reviews Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier by Alexandra Fuller

Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African SoldierVerdict: carrot

A very difficult read. An uncomfortable story. A real tale of so many men that suffered in silence then and most likely suffer in silence even still. A novel that is potentially the most important account of a soldiers story and how they live with themselves afterwards.

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Writivism Announces 2015 Programme, Including Workshops, Short Story Competition and New Anthology

Writivism has announced its programme of events for 2015.

First on the agenda is the Writivism creative writing workshops, which begin today in Gaborone, Botswana (2-4 January), Lagos, Nigeria (16-18 January), Johannesburg (23-25 January), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (23-25 January) and Kampala, Uganda (28-31 January).

Lauri Kubuitsile and Donald Molosi will facilitate the workshops in Gaborone; Dami Ajayi, Ukamaka Olisakwe and Richard Ali in Lagos; Zukiswa Wanner and Anne Ayeta Wangusa in Dar es Salaam; Yewande Omotoso and Saleeha Bamjee in Johannesburg; and Dilman Dila and Nyana Kakoma in Kampala.

11 emerging writers were selected to attend the Johannesburg workshop. See the full list here.

Selected writers from the workshops will then be assigned writing mentors, from a list including Karen Jennings, Lauri Kubutsile, Meg Vandermerwe, Donald Molosi, Sumayya Lee, Tope Folarin, Okwiri Oduor, Tuelo Gabonewe and Yewande Omotoso.

The Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesZebra CrossingAway from the DeadLondon – Cape Town – JoburgA Killing in the SunFeast, Famine and PotluckBom BoyA Memory This Size and Other Stories

Writivism has also announced a partnership with Jalada, a pan-African writers’ collective, which will involve the publication of an annual anthology, comprising the best of the flash fiction from the programme, and a few short stories from the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize longlist.

Submissions for the Short Story Prize will be accepted from 1 February. This year’s panel of judges is Chika Unigwe (chair), Mukoma wa Ngugi, Ainehi Edoro, Tendai Huchu and Rachel Zadok. The winnerwill be announced at the Writivism Festival in Kampala in June 2015.

The 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize was won by Johannesburger Saaleha Idrees Bamjee, for her story “Out of the Blue”.

Press release:

Writivism to Engage Readers and Writers Across Generations in 2015

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Join Artists in Tribute to Madiba to Celebrate the Legacy of Nelson Mandela at the Centre of Memory in Houghton

Invitation: Artists' Tribute to Madiba

The Nelson Mandela Foundation in partnership with the wRite associates would like to invite you to the Artists’ Tribute to Madiba in honour of the one year anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela.

Long Walk To FreedomA Prisoner in the GardenOur MadibaGesprekke met myselfMadiba A to ZOpposite Mandela
Madiba and MeBusiness Day Remembers Nelson Mandela 1918-2013Financial Mail Remembers Nelson Mandela 1918-2013Rediscovery of the OrdinaryThe Cry of Winnie MandelaFine Lines from the Box

The event will take place on Saturday, 6 December, from 11 AM to 1 PM. Everyone is invited, and all poets, authors, musicians, praise singers and performers are welcome to bring tribute to Madiba.

The tribute will be opened by professor Njabulo Simakahle Ndebele, chancellor of the University of Johannesburg and author of Rediscovery of the Ordinary, The Cry of Winnie Mandela and Fine Lines from the Box.

Don’t miss it!

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Chitja Twala Reviews Against All Odds by Hussein Solomon

Against All Odds: Opposition Political Parties in Southern AfricaVerdict: carrot

This volume edited by Hussein Solomon brings to the fore the vibrant intellectual work of a new generation of scholars in the southern part of Africa. The fact that the authors come from different countries helps in making a comparative analysis of the roles opposition political parties play elsewhere in the region and what lessons could be learnt from each country’s case study. It is an important contribution to the understanding of opposition political parties in southern Africa and how they battle to become strong.

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Selected Writers Announced for the 2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops

Writivism has released the names of the writers who have been selected to take part the 2015 Writivism Creative Writing Workshops.

Workshops are being held in five African countries in January next year and will be led by successful authors. In addition to the opportunities for improvement afforded by the workshops, selected writers will be assigned writing mentors.

London – Cape Town – JoburgA Killing in the SunFeast, Famine and PotluckBom Boy

The Lagos workshop will be facilitated by Dami Ajayi, Kampala by Dilman Dila, Gaborone by Donald Molosi and Lauri Kubuitsile and Dar es Salaam by Zukiswa Wanner and Ayeta Anne Wangusa.

The Johannesburg workshop will be led by Yewande Omotoso and Saaleha Idrees Bamjee. 11 emerging writers have been selected to attend:

1. Saaleha Bhamjee
2. Greta Schuler
3. Siyabonga Lerumo
4. Chivimbiso Gava
5. Chris Djuma
6. Hellen Herimbi
7. Jafta Odendaal
8. Khanyile Joseph Mlotshwa
9. Lerato Molisana
10. Michelle Ainsile
11. Chumisa Ndakisa

Read the article and lists of attendees:

Since September 21, 2014, we have been receiving applications from emerging writers from allover the continent for our 2015 workshops. We are excited to announce that from the numerous applicants (over a hundred), our workshop facilitators have selected about fifty who shall attend workshops in Lagos, Kampala, Gaborone, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg throughout January 2015.

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The 2014 South African Literary Award (SALA) Winners

Alert! The winners of the 2014 South African Literary Awards (SALAs) have been revealed.

The SALAs were founded in 2005 by the wRite associates and the Department of Arts and Culture, to celebrate literary excellence in all the languages of South Africa.

Claire Robertson, who won this year’s Sunday Times Fiction Prize, won the First-time Published Author Award, and Books LIVE community members Makhosazana Xaba and Sihle Khumalo were also rewarded for their literary efforts.

Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele received Lifetime Achievement Literary Awards, while Mbulelo Mzamane received a Posthumous Literary Award.

The Spiral House Running Love InterruptedThe Great Agony and Pure Laughter of the GodsThe Turtle Dove Told MeAlmost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu

The Children of SowetoChildren of ParadiseCrossbonesFrom a Crooked RibThe Cry of Winnie MandelaRediscovery of the Ordinary




Claire Robertson, The Spiral House (English, Umuzi Publishers)


Makhosazana Xaba, Running and Other Stories (English, Modjaji books)
Reneilwe Malatji, Love Interrupted (English, Modjaji Books)


Jamala Safari, The Great Agony and Pure laughter of the Gods (English, Umuzi Publishing)


Nhlanhla Maake, Malefane (Sesotho/English, Ekaam Books)


Thandi Sliepen, The Turtle Dove Told Me (English, Modjaji Books)
Themba Patrick Magaisa, Mihloti ya Tingana (Xitsonga, published by TP Magaisa)


Sihle Khumalo, Almost Sleeping My Way to Timbuktu (English, Umuzi Publishers)


Mbulelo Vizikhungo


Nuruddin Farah and Njabulo Ndebele
Tweets from the event:

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South Africa Represented at the Africa39 Events at the Port Harcourt Book Festival in Nigeria this Weekend

Shafinaaz Hassim and Zukiswa Wanner will represent South Africa at Africa39 events at the Port Harcourt Book Festival, Nigeria, this weekend.

Africa39 anthologyThe Africa39 list, which was unveiled in April at the London Book Fair, names the most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora. Nthikeng Mohlele, Sifiso Mzobe, Mary Watson and Hassim made the final cut, as did Liberia-born Hawa Jande Golakai, Zambia-born Wanner and Zimbabwe-born Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, who have all published in South Africa.

Other notable names on the Africa39 list include Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tope Folarin, Dinaw Mengestu, Taiye Selasi and this year’s Caine Prize winner Okwiri Oduor.

The resultant anthology, Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara, was launched last weekend, with Clifton Gachagua (Kenya), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) and Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia).

Event information:

International events celebrating Africa39
Port Harcourt Book Festival, Nigeria
21–25 October 2014

Royal Banquet Hall (Hotel Presidential), University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State University of Science and Technology and Ignatius Ajuru University of Education

Readings and conversations with Tope Folarin, Clifton Gachagua, Mehul Gohil, Shadreck Chikoti, Edwige Renee DRO, Ukamaka Olisakwe, Lola Shoneyin, Nana Brew-Hammond, Ondjaki, Okwiri Oduor, Glaydah Namukasa, Kioko Ndinda, Onjezani, Stanley Kenani, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Eileen Barbosa, Rotimi Babatunde, Imachibundu Onuzo, Linda Musita, Recaredo Boturu, Nii Parkes, Stanley Gazemba, Richard Alia Mutu, Shafinaaz Hassim, Chika Unigwe, Zukiswa Wanner, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Ondjaki, Adrian Igoni Barrett and Hawa Jande Golakai. Chaired by Ella Allfrey.

The Gonjon Pin and Other StoriesAmericanahAll Our NamesGhana Must GoSmall ThingsYoung Blood
The Cutting RoomThe Lazarus EffectThe Orchard of Lost SoulsSoPhiaLondon - Cape Town - JoburgShadows

The Africa39 project, which is run by Bloomsbury Publishing, the Hay Festival and the Rainbow Book Club, aims to “celebrate the most vibrant voices in literature” and “bring worldwide attention to some of the best new fiction from Africa south of the Sahara”. Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina compiled the longlist late last year, and the final 39 writers were chosen by judges Margaret Busby, Elechi Amadi and Osonye Tess Onwueme.

Busby wrote a short blog about the launch of Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara:

Its cover art vibrant with yellow and green and red and blue, the anthology looks gorgeous, even before you open it to savour 350-plus pages of creativity by the talented 39, represented at the launch by Clifton Gachagua (Kenya), Stanley Onjezani Kenani (Malawi) and Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia). They read from their contributions – poignant and playful, thought-provoking and unexpected, and buzzing – and responded with insight to über interlocutor Ellah Allfrey’s questions. Fascinating to hear Stanley Kenani talk of how his writing recently converged with his “day job” as a chartered accountant when he faced the improbable challenge of writing a poem on accountancy.

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