The 'Meet' Series is my chance to interview anyone I would love to meet that is involved with African literature. 

Chibundu Onuzo
Author of The Spider King's Daughter
July 2012

"It just came to me. Divine inspiration I suppose. Before I’d written a word of the book I had a title. I don’t know how unusual this is but it felt pretty special to me".

Sue Nyathi
Author of The Polygamist
September 2012

"I express myself better on paper. Moreover it’s sheer escapism. I can disappear into a world of make believe where I create people and have absolute control over what happens to them!" 

Tolu Popoola
Author of Nothing Comes Close
December 2012

"There are many stories we have to tell, and I hope that many more writers will start having the courage and opportunities to tell our stories and present our unique culture to the world".

Tendai Huchu
Author of Hairdresser of Harare
February 2013

"When a story comes to you, you have to let it unravel, and not try to force it into whatever genre you think it should fall in. I’ve read literary novels that I thought would work best as romances, equally I have come across Sci Fi novels I think might have worked best stripped of the gimmicks and been purely literary novels".

Bryony Rheam
Author of This September Sun
April 2013

"I did my Masters in Postcolonial Writing, a course which I enjoyed very much, but one that also frustrated me.  I read a lot of what is termed ‘colonial’ writing – Out of Africa and A Passage to India – and lots of postcolonial stuff, but I never saw ‘myself’ in any of it.  White characters were often polarised into ‘good’ (the idealist) or ‘bad’ (the racist/colonial administrator).  No one was ‘real’".  

Mary Okon Ononokpono
Longlisted for 2014 Golden Baobab Prizes 
September 2014

"The art of storytelling. I love telling stories, whether visually or with words. I’m deeply drawn to history and the unearthing of stories that remain untold. I’m a bit obsessed with making tangible intangible things. It’s my way of understanding the world and my place in it. I can’t really explain why. It’s an urge that I feel compelled to follow".

Zukiswa Wanner
Author of several books, including London, Cape Town, Joburg
December 2014

"Every writer and every book I have read has influenced me. The good books yell out to me the type of writing I would like to aspire to do and the bad works teach me how not to write."

Joanne Macgregor
Author of several books including Dark Whispers
December 2014

"I think it’s that the work is so varied that even I can’t get bored. Each time there’s a rhythm to getting the idea, fleshing it out in pleasant daydreams, getting it down on paper, editing and rewriting, and these days, of course, marketing, but it’s never the same. Each new book is like a new baby, and you can’t quite be sure what it might become! Also, I have just always been in love with words, so becoming a wordsmith has felt like coming home."

Xanelé Puren
Illustrator and winner of inaugural Golden Baobab Prize for African Illustrators
February 2015

"I still have quite a few books from my childhood library! I love a tale from Liberia called "The Vingananee and the tree toad", a Russian folk tale "Varenka", "Where the Wild things are" by Maurice Sendak, "Moomin" by Tove Jansson to name but a few. All of these books have beautiful illustrations and captivating stories."

The AfroSFv2 novellas
Five novellas from six African SFF authors
April 2016

The Last Pantheon by Tade Thompson and Nick Wood
"One of the themes of the novella is the futility of using violence to solve your problems. Each time our heroes tried to intervene they either did not intervene early enough, or they failed outright. The Cold War in the late 60s and 70s played out in black Africa with wars, extra-judicial assassinations and coups that were thinly-veiled CIA plots. There was no easily-identifiable supervillain to incapacitate with energy bolts." 

Hell Freezes Over by Mame Bougouma Diene
"The caste system came up spontaneously, so did the twist on philosophy and Greek mythology. Like I said, it was a vision, mostly ultramarine with monsters in it. I had NO IDEA where I was going at all. I just kept writing, but once I had the Fish, the Moles made sense, and now I knew where I was heading with the Divine Undertaking." 

The Flying Man of Stone by Dilman Dila
"It's not really an 'alien race'. I wonder why people keep seeing them as 'alien'. Maybe because we have been conditioned to believe that we are the only intelligent species to have ever walked on this planet, and so any other intelligent beings have to be from outer space. But what do we really know about the history of Earth? What do we know about beings that lived here ten thousand years ago? Just because we have not found their fossils doesn't mean they did not exist."

VIII by Andrew Dakalira
"I was also torn about the ending. It really was about who should win. I had this whole story, and quite a few other showdowns and the big one, all of which ended up not being in the story. I didn't know which side I wanted to win, and that drove me crazy, which was actually fun at the same time."

An Indigo Song for Paradise by Efe Tokunbo Okogu
"Music is a primordial and primal thing that touches people on a deep level, beyond the conscious mind, which is why it is an effective tool which people can use to free their minds from the false belief systems that have been programmed into them by the educational system, the media, the corrupted versions of religion, the legal system and society in general."

Onyinye Iwu
Illustrator and Designer
January 2017

"My work is Afropop. All I do is African themed, from my characters to my backgrounds, I want to create vibrant, colourful and energetic illustrations. I take inspiration from the African atmosphere, from the colourful patterns on the fabric, to our colourful mix of languages, and our vibrant and harmonious music."