The sisters Olanna and Kainene, played by Thandie Newton and Anika-Rose Noni, in the film adaptation of Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun.

Who is your favourite African female literary character? Is it Darling in NoViolet Bulawayo’s We Need New Names? Or Effia or Esi in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing? Or Neni in Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers? Olanna or Kainene in Chimamanda Adichie’s Half of a Yellow Sun? Ajany or Akai in Yvonne Owuor’s Dust? Memory in Petina Gappah’s The Book of Memory? Soraya in Leila Aboulela’s Lyrics Alley? Suubi in Jennifer Makumbi’s Kintu? Kirby in Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls? Or Germaine Spencer in Zukiswa Wanner’s London Cape Town Joburg?

As part of the buildup to their 2017 festival, which will be headlined by Alain Mabanckou from 30 June–2 July, Africa Writes is inviting the literary community to send in short videos in which they talk about their favourite African female literary characters. Here is an example of what the video should be like.

Congolese novelist Alain Mabanckou will headline the 2017 Africa Writes Festival.

This exciting idea is part of a social media campaign that The Royal African Society is running with Nzinga Effect, a media platform that tells African women’s stories, in the lead up to Africa Writes.

All videos that meet the criteria will be featured across the social platforms of The Royal African Society, Africa Writes and Nzinga Effect, and the very best will be screened at the festival itself!

Here are the guidelines:

1. Send to nzingaeffect@gmail.com a video in MP4 format of you answering this question: Who is your favourite female African character in a book and why?

2. Include a full and accurate transcript of everything you say on that video.

3. In the email, make sure you provide: your first and surname, your title, your social media handles (must include Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), and a short bio (2 sentences maximum).
the video should be like.

4. Deadline for your video is Thursday, 8 June, 2017.

This is an exciting initiative we’re wholly behind. Submit!

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young’s writing has been shortlisted for the 2016 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, the 2017 Gerald Kraak Award, and nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. His fiction has appeared in Transition (“A Tenderer Blessing,” 2015), The Threepenny Review (“Mulumba,” 2016), and Pride and Prejudice: African Perspectives on Gender, Social Justice and Sexuality (“You Sing of a Longing,” 2017), an anthology of The Jacana Literary Foundation and The Other Foundation. His work further appears in Interdisciplinary Academic Essays, Africa in Dialogue, and Brittle Paper, where he is submissions editor. He is the editor of the Art Naija Series: a sequence of concept-based e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness. The first anthology, Enter Naija: The Book of Places (Oct., 2016) focuses on cities. The second, Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (June, 2017) focuses on professions. He attended the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and currently teaches English at another Nigerian university. When bored, he blogs pop culture at naijakulture.blogspot.com or just Googles Rihanna.

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I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

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