At the start of this month, there was a shake-up at Writivism, the Kampala-based pan African literary initiative. The new coordinators are some of the coolest people alive today, especially on the African literary scene, in my not so humble view.
Both Kagayi Peter and Valerie Bah are not exactly new names on the African literary scene, so the following things may after all be known about them already. But I trust that there will be at least one thing that is new. Okay, let us agree that you shall tell me that you have learnt at least one thing. Deal? Cool.
Fun Facts About Valerie and Kagayi
- Valerie Bah is a writer of considerable repute, whose work has been published by Al Jazeera English, This is Africa, African Women Development Fund (AWDF) among others.
- Kagayi Peter is one of Uganda’s leading poets and his debut poetry collection will be published in 2016.
- Valerie has been to the FEMRITE-AWDF writing for social justice workshop in Kampala and is a committed feminist.
- In Kagayi’s tenure as Coordinator at Writivism, the initiative will branch out of fiction and organise a poetry workshop in Kampala, conduct mentoring for emerging poets on the continent, and include poetry in the initiative’s regular publications.
- Valerie is spearheading the first ever Writivism activities in French-speaking Africa, starting with workshops in Goma, Dakar and Abidjan, mentoring for emerging writers working in French, producing a bi-lingual Writivism anthology, curating a bi-lingual short story prize among other amazing things.
- Kagayi’s educational background is in Law. He went to Law School at Makerere University but chose to teach Literature in secondary schools and write and perform poetry instead.
- Valerie Bah;s parents come from Haiti and Benin and she has lived and worked in Canada. So Pan African I am envious.
- Kagayi Peter is so passionate about producing literature in African languages he also writes in his native Lusoga language at times. Hats off man!
- Valerie attended the 2015 Writivism workshop in Dar es Salaam facilitated by Zukiswa Wanner and Anne Ayeta Wangusa and was subsequently mentored by Rotimi Babatunde, under whose guidance she wrote the story Curd, published by Saraba. Read it. It’s brilliant.
- Kagayi Peter has attended Writivism festivals from 2013 to date. In 2015, he performed his poetry at the awards ceremony and left everyone with huge goose bumps, they could not resist offering a standing ovation after his performances. Watch him do his thing here.
So, these are the people to go to regarding all matters Writivism. Cool people, I tell you. Though still engaged with Writivism at a senior managerial level, Naseemah Mohamed and I are returning to school, Naseemah to Oxford for her Doctorate studies, and I, to take up a fellowship at the African Leadership Centre at Kings College, London.
Find Val and KAgayi on Twitter at @val_bah, @kagayimutanga, @writivism and on Facebook at Valerie Bah, Kagayi Peter and Writivism Cace. On email, they are on firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. And by the way, the deadline for applications for the #Writivism2016 workshops is October 30th, 2015. Just twenty five days left, for the thing to close.