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Monday, 4 June 2018

Judging a Book by its Cover: The Books of Africa Writes 2018


Africa Writes Headline Events

Africa Writes - the Royal African Society's annual literature festival - is back. Well, it will soon come. It's taking place from Friday 29 June to Sunday 1 July, at the British Library and Rich Mix. Now in its seventh year (my, how time flies!), this year's festival will bring together 'over 50 brilliant contemporary authors and influential voices from Africa and its diaspora' and will focus 'on themes of identity, love (self and for others, with an emphasis on queerness) and powerful femininity'.

The Festival opens Friday 29 June at the British Library with Yomi Sode's one-man show COAT, which explores themes of 'identity, migration and displacement while cooking up a stew live on stage' (is that a literal or figurative stew?). The Festival's other two headline events include 'the womxn of colour poetry group Octavia' and their Wakanda-themed event at Rich Mix 30 June  and Somali-British poet Warsan Shire in conversation about her work, 1 July. 



There are also very exciting book launches happening at the Festival with some amazingly wonderful books. These include Leila Abouela's short-story collection Elsewhere, Home exploring themes of identity, migration and displacement, Ayesha Haruna Attah's historical fiction set in 19th century Ghana The Hundred Wells of Salaga, and Panashe Chigumadzi's long-form essayThese Bones Will Rise Again combining bold reportage, memoir and critical analysis on Zimbabwe's recent 'coup that wasn't a coup'. In total, there will be 8 book launches at the Festival ... and because if you've been following this blog long enough, you know I love me some book covers, I decided to give the books at this year's festival some cover love. 

Delve into some history with the first biography of Sierra Leonean writer A. B.. C. Meriman-Labor and with Attah's historical fiction in Ghana during the height of the slave trade at the end of the 19th century


Young writers from Zimbabwe through fiction and long-form essay presenting new ways of telling the nation's story and discussing its future


Fiction exploring spirituality and religion, the metaphysics of identity and mental health, as well as a memoir offering a highly personal series of contemporary snapshots of same gender loving Africans.


 Short story and poetry collections
But, wait? There's more! As there are some other books I am really excited about that will be featured at the festival, including Odokonyero from Writivism, which presents new work from young writers, La Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono - the first book by an Equatorial Guinean woman to be translated into English (translated by Lawrence Schimel) and the edited collection She Called Me Woman with engaging stories from Nigerian queer women.



                                 Loving the representations of Britain and Uganda on these two book covers. 


From Equatorial Guinea to Somalia - books in translation


Short story collections from new and emerging writers to shortlisted writers

                                                                        Delve into stories of queer womxn


More on all the book launches and featured book titles, as well as the rest of the festival can be found on Africa Writes website

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