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From August 30 to September 1, enthusiasts of African literature and politics will gather at the historic Market Theatre in Johannesburg and listen to sessions on politics, literature, and art inspired by Achebe’s work. Mail&Guardian, South Africa’s premier newspaper, is the major sponsor of the literary event.

Subtitled Achebe’s Children: Africa’s Suspended Revolutions, “the festival will pay tribute to and draw inspiration from the late Chinua Achebe.” The idea is essentially to think through South Africa’s contemporary moment—its politics and aesthetics—through an Achebe lens.

The likes of Nadine Gordimer and NoViolet Bulawayo will be there. If you are in Jo’burg, don’t miss it.

Here is the rundown of events:

At 9.30am on August 31, kicking off the first of the festival’s seven panel discussions, Habib will appear with Adriaan Basson (Zuma Exposed) and Hlumelo Biko (The Great African Society) in Hopes and Impediments, a conversation chaired by the Mail & Guardian’s comment and analysis editor, De Waal. As with many of the festival’s session titles, Hopes and Impediments is drawn from Achebe’s works.

Next up will be Nobel laureate Gordimer, in A Man of the People: Reflecting on Chinua Achebe’s Legacy, from 11.30am to 1pm. Gordimer and lunch will be followed by two parallel sessions from 2.30pm to 4pm.

The Achebe line “It is only the story [that] can continue beyond the war and the warrior” steers discussion in session four. Chaired by Imraan Coovadia, it features novelists Mhlongo (Way Back Home), Nthikeng Mohlele (Small Things), Mtutuzeli Nyoka (A Hill of Fools) and Mongane Wally Serote (Rumours).

Upstairs in the Barney Simon Theatre will be No Longer at Ease — Books as Agents of Insurrection, chaired by festival co-director Corina van der Spoel. Panellists are Archie Dick (The Hidden History of South Africa’s Book and Reading Cultures), Hofmeyr (Gandhi’s Printing Press: Experiments in Slow Reading) and Bronwyn Law-Viljoen, the founder and publisher of Fourthwall Books. Read More

 

Image (c) Komolu Studios

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Ainehi Edoro is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches African literature. She received her doctorate at Duke University. She is the founder and editor of Brittle Paper and series editor of Ohio University Press’s Modern African Writer’s imprint.

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