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Tsitsi Dangarembga. Photo credit: unknown.

The guest list for the 2017 Abantu Book Festival has been revealed. The event, to be held from 7-10 December 2017, is set to be graced by everybody from Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of the classic, Nervous Conditions, to Zakes Mda, author of twenty-nine works, most recently Little Suns, which won the 2017 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize.

Founded last year by the festival director Thando Mgqolozana, the Abantu Book Festival is a platform for black writers in the white-dominated literary landscape of South Africa. Its mission is “to create a platform that amplifies the voices of black writers, as well as be a home for black readers.” It “envisions itself as an annual pilgrimage and sanctuary for its participants and visitors.”

Sisonke Msimang won the Brittle Paper Award for Essays/Think Pieces.

Also on the list are Ayobami Adebayo, author of the Baileys Prize finalist Stay With Me; Sisonke Msimang, winner of the Brittle Paper Award for Essays/Think Pieces; Kopano Matlwa, whose Period Pain will be out in the US and UK in 2018 as Evening Primrose, having sold to 9 international publishers; Zukiswa Wanner, K Sello Duiker Memorial Literary Award-winning author of The Madams, Behind Every Successful ManMen of the South, and London Cape Town Joburg; Nthinkeng Mohlele, whose Pleasure won the University of Johannesburg Main Prize; Mohale Mashigo, whose The Yearning won the University of Johannesburg Debut Prize; and Sifizo Mzobe, whose 2011 debut, Young Blood, received the Herman Charles Bosman Prize, The Sunday Times Fiction Prize, a South African Literary Award, and the Wole Soyinka Prize.

Nthinkeng Mohlele (L) and Mohale Mashigo (R), winners of the Main and Debut prizes of the University of Johannesburg Prizes. Photo credit: unknown.

Here is part of the announcement.

Following the phenomenal success of its inaugural year, Abantu Book Festival announces the line-up for its second edition, which takes place on 7-10 December 2017.

Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo hosts free day events from 09:00, while evening sessions take place at the Soweto Theatre from 18:00, at just R20 per person. Guests attending the evening events are advised to book their seats early.

The line-up hints at a lively and highly topical programme, featuring panel discussions, in-conversations, poetry, hands-on writing workshops, children’s activities, film screenings, as well as music. Visitors should look forward to an Abantu weekend that grapples with, interrogates, and illuminates the stories of black lives.

See the full list of guests HERE.

Book seats for events HERE.

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is the curator of the Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined English and History at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is completing a postgraduate degree in African Studies, and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

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