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The inaugural Asmara Addis Literary Festival in Exile was held from 8–10 February 2019, in Brussels, Belgium. Founded by Eritrean-Ethiopian novelist Sulaiman Addonia, author of The Consequences of Love (2009) and Silence Is My Mother Tongue (2018), the Festival is “a new pan-African literary event with feminist principles at its heart.” It was organized in collaboration with BOZAR, in the framework of the Afropolitan Festival, and supported by the Commune of Ixelle and Bib Sans Souci.

Launching with three events over two days, on “African feminism, migration experiences in Europe, free love & radical ideas,” the Festival aims to be “a home for ideas that migrate freely and boldly in borderless literary landscapes,” an event “that reflects and celebrates our societies not as censored but as they exist in reality, with all their diversity, trouble and beauty.”

Among the guests were Maaza Mengiste, Minna Salami, Nadifa Mohamed, Chike Frankie Edozien, Saleh Addonia, Soheila Mehri, Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Amina Jama, Meron Estefanos, Hazel Thomas, Vanessa Tsehaye, Desta Haile, Ubah Cristina Ali Farah, and Rachida Lamrabet.

We bring you photos from the Festival, courtesy of Sulaiman Addonia.

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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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