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The inaugural edition of the African Writers Festival took place on February 15 at Brown University’s McCormack Family Center.

Chika Unigwe, author of Night Dancer and professor at Brown University, curated the event. She assembled an excellent group of well-known names in the African literary community to address the question of literature and the role of the public intellectual.

Sola Osofisan, editor of africanwriter.com, attended the event. Here is the recap he shared a few days ago:

The morning session, a panel discussion, negotiated the subject of “The Writer as a Public Intellectual“, while the afternoon session had the featured writers reading from their works. Serpell read Triptych: Texas Pool Party. Osondu read a scifi short from a new collection he’s working on. Ndibe read from his newly published memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye; Okparanta read a delicious remix of a well-known Nigerian folk tale, and Akpan read from his Commonwealth Prize winning book, Say You’re One of Them.

It was a beautiful event, small but significant. We need more of these kinds of events that broadcast the news of the renaissance taking place in African literature far and wide.

In a Facebook message, Unigwe thanked “EC Osondu, Chinelo Okparanta, Uwem Akpan , Namwali Serpell and Okey Ndibe for their generosity of spirit in answering the call when invited; for a great panel discussion; for reading from their works; for being wonderful literary siblings.”

Here are some of the pictures from the event.

Chika Unigwe and E. C. Osondu

Chika Unigwe and E. C. Osondu

Panelists

Panelists

Chinelo Okparanta and Namwali Serpell

Chinelo Okparanta and Namwali Serpell

african writers festival 5

Sheri Ndibe, Okey Ndibe, and Okonkwo

Sheri Ndibe, Okey Ndibe, and Rudolf Okonkwo

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Uwem Akpan

Uwem Akpan

Chika Unigwe

Chika Unigwe

**************

All images sourced from Chika Unigwe’s Facebook Page.

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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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