Africa Writes 2018

Friday, 29 June 2018 - 6:00pm to Sunday, 1 July 2018 - 9:00pm

Africa Writes returns for an exciting summer weekend at The British Library and Rich Mix London, celebrating the best of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.

We’re excited to announce our headline events for the festival, where poetry takes the spotlight with Warsan Shire in Conversation, Yomi Sode’s sizzling performance of COAT at The British Library and Octavia Poetry Collective’s Wakanda-themed party at Rich Mix London, plus a whole weekend of African literature joy!
Picture this: Nigeria. A grandmother passes. London, a son cooks a pot of stew for his mother hoping to uncover hidden stories and unanswered questions.
Drawing on themes of immigration, identity and displacement, Coat is a one-man show written by poet Yomi Sode which tells honest and emotional story of Junior. Born in Nigeria, he leaves at age 9 and heads to London, leaving behind a life that he loved and is settled in. Whilst cooking up a stew on stage, Sode confronts the difficult realities of growing up in south London as a young man, and the expectations of family, blending poetry and drama in a unique performance style rich with lyricism, humour and hard truths.
Octavia Poetry Collective Presents:Africa Writes 2018 Party
The Year of the Womxn
Saturday 30 June, 20:00 – 00:00, Rich Mix
£10 / £8
Following 2017’s sold out R.A.P Party, Africa Writes returns with the official festival party hosted by Octavia Poetry Collective. Join us for a Wakanda-themed evening of poetry, music and dancing into the night /future where we’ll showcase and celebrate the words, the art, the song of womxn from Africa and the diaspora. Taking their name from the American science fiction writer Octavia Butler and inspiration from Black Panther, Octavia present an evening celebrating The Year of the Womxn featuring art displays, a live band, DJs and a line-up of guest poets.
Warsan Shire in Conversation
Sunday 1 July, 17:30 – 18:45, British Library
£15 / £10
We’re delighted to welcome back Warsan Shire to Africa Writes as our headline writer. Shire is a Somali-British poet and writer based in Los Angeles. Raised in northwest London, her debut pamphlet, ‘Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth’ (flipped eye publishing) was published in 2011. Since then, Shire was awarded the inaugural African Poetry Prize in 2013, appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London (2014) and selected as Poet in Resident for Queensland, Australia (2014). In 2016, her work was featured prominently in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade. She is the first writer under 30 to headline Africa Writes.
Shire’s poetry highlights themes of migration, identity and sexuality amongst others. She also curates and teaches classes around the intersections of art and healing. Shire will join us in conversation with Sheila Ruiz to discuss her work, process and inspiration.
Festival Weekend Pass £18 / £12:
A rich and vibrant daytime programme of book launches, panel discussions, performances, masterclasses, education events, family workshops and an international book fair.
To receive priority booking for headline events, join the Royal African Society:
To be the first to hear about the programme, join the Africa Writes newsletter:
Africa Writes 2018 is supported by Arts Council England, Miles Morland Foundation and hosted and supported by the British Library.

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