Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

From L-R: Helon Habila, Yewande Omotoso, Olumide Popoola, Chris Abani, Chika Unigwe, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Ayobami Adebayo, Mukuma Wa Ngugi.

Last month, the Nigerian-German novelist Olumide Popoola, author of When We Speak of Nothing, curated a star-studded festival of African writers in Berlin. The event, held from 26–28 April at Kino Babylon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 3010178, Berlin, was themed “Writing in Migration” and was presented by the literary agency InterKontinental. It was sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe. Notable names from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, and Ghana were in attendance for what was the first such gathering of African writers in Berlin.

Through talks, readings and roundtable discussions of prose and poetry works, “Writing in Migration” tackled issues of transnationality and transculturality and interrogated that sense of “being on the move.” What does it mean to live and write after a forced or voluntary move to Europe/the USA? How do African writers process constant movement through spaces and identities? Is there a responsibility towards tradition or even an African identity? These were a few of the questions engaged by the festival.

Other subjects included personal experiences and perspectives of writing in or about migration, the renaissance of the short story form, an engagement with new Nigerian gender roles, writing about trauma and myth, the influence of publishers and literature promoters, engaging the colonial legacy via language, and the leading roles of women in contemporary African literature.

Some of the invited African writers.

The Festival venue: Kino Babylon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 3010178, Berlin.

In attendance from Nigeria: Chris Abani, Chinelo Okparanta, Bernardine Evaristo, Chika Unigwe, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Helon Habila, Jude Dibia, Ayobami Adebayo, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Leye Adenle, and Elnathan John. From Kenya: Yvonne Owuor and Abdilatif Abdallah. From South Africa: Zukiswa Wanner, Niq Mhlongo, Henrietta Rose-Innes, Pumla Gqola.

From Uganda: Jennifer Makumbi, Clementine Ewokolo Burnley, Nick Makoha, and Musa Okwonga. From DR Congo: JJ Bola. From Zimbabwe: Brian Chikwava and Linda Gabriel. From Ghana: Jessica Horn. From Germany: Maroula Blades.

Enjoy the photos below, courtesy of Olumide Popoola and InterKontinental. Congratulations to them for pulling this off.

Panels and Readings

From L-R: Mukoma wa Ngugi and Elnathan John.

From L-R: Ayobami Adebay and Stefanie Hirs.

From L-R: Olumide Popoola, Yewande Omotoso, Chika Unigwe, and Jude Dibia.

Lesley Nneka Arimah reads from her collection, What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky.

 

Camaraderie

From L-R: Musa Okwonga, Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, Chinelo Okparanta, Clementine Burnley, Linda Gabriel, Henrietta Rose-Innes, John Matip Eichler.

From L-R: Jessica Horn, Jude Dibia, Chris Abani, Abdilatif Abdalla, Olumide Popoola, A. Igoni Barrett.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

OTOSIRIEZE is a writer, literary journalist, former academic, and Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. A judge for the 2019 Gerald Kraak Award, he is an editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective which has published two volumes: WE ARE FLOWERS and THE INWARD GAZE. He is the curator of ART NAIJA SERIES, a sequence of themed e-anthologies of writing and visual art exploring different aspects of Nigerianness: ENTER NAIJA: THE BOOK OF PLACES (October, 2016) focuses on cities in Nigeria; WORK NAIJA: THE BOOK OF VOCATIONS (June, 2017) focuses on professions in Nigeria. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship and the Gerald Kraak Award, both in 2016, and a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He attended the 2018 Miles Morland Foundation Creative Writing Workshop. He has completed a collection of short stories, YOU SING OF A LONGING, and is working on a novel. He is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He combined history and literature at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and taught English at Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. When bored, the boy just Googles Rihanna. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts editing and writing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Opportunity for African Poets | Enter for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize

Romeo Oriogun (2)

Submissions for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize will begin on 30 October and end on 12 December 2018. Previous […]

Alain Mabanckou’s 11th Novel, Black Moses, Wins 2018 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award for Fiction

Alain-Mabanckou-©JF-Paga-Grasset-kk

Alain Mabanckou’s Black Moses has won the 2018 Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. The Congolese writer and UCLA professor’s 11th novel, which was […]

Un-Silencing Queer Nigeria: The Language of Emotional Truth | Five Writers in Conversation

Brittle Paper Anniversary Conversation - Un-Silencing Queer Nigeria

To mark BRITTLE PAPER‘s 7th anniversary in 2017, we organised two conversations on our Facebook page. The second, themed “Un-Silencing […]

#LIPFest18 | Register for Poetry Workshops with Kwame Dawes, Nick Makoha, Lebo Mashile, and Yomi Sode 

lipfest - lebo mashile

The 2018 Lagos International Poetry Festival (#LIPFest18) is offering workshops by some of the biggest names in contemporary African poetry. Much-honoured […]

The Freedom Artist, Ben Okri’s New Novel Forthcoming in January 2019, Is a Rallying Call in a Post-Truth Society

Ben Okri. Photo credit: David Levenson / Getty.

Ben Okri has a new novel forthcoming in January 2019. The Nigerian novelist-poet-essayist, who is the only black African to […]

Nuruddin Farah’s 14th Novel, North Of Dawn, Explores the Lives of Somali Immigrants in Norway and Experiences of Religion and Jihadism

nuruddin farah boundary2.org

Celebrated Somali writer Nuruddin Farah’s new novel will be out on 4 December 2018. The 384-page North of Dawn, forthcoming […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.