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Three major cultural organizations in Germany, Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Institut français and Akademie Schloss Solitude, are hosting a four-day international literary festival titled Membrane: African Literatures and Ideas.

The festival is being curated by three eminent intellectuals: Nadja Ofuatey-Alazard (Germany), director of EOTO, Novelist Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya) and currently Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and economist Felwine Sarr, (Senegal).

A total of 20 international guests, comprising of novelist, journalists, sound and visual artist, photographers, even chefs, are billed to take part in the festival. Using membrane—a thin skin that is permeable to liquids and gases—as a productive metaphor, these scholars will explore ideas about space, futurity, forms of mobility, and boundaries within the context of Africa.

Some of the larger questions guiding discussions and debates will include:

“What does it mean to be Africa and African in a world fraught with new objections to old paradigms, where contradictions and paradoxes have generated a general sense of uncertainty? Which other “Africas” exist and how do they meet/interact/ avoid each other? How does Africa assert its presence in the world? Since dramatic alliances are being reformulated in the world, including that involving Africa and South Asia, what does this portend for a future Africa imaginary? We have delib- erately sought a multi-disciplinary approach so that unusual imaginative, literary, technological, spiritual, aesthetic, emotional, intellectual, physical and liminal spaces can be stirred. We have ambitions: Can the Membrane festival itself, in the end, propose new relationalities in approaching an African idea? What fresh Africa questions, ideas and imaginaries might an intense and engaged literature-focused event offer to participants and audiences alike?”

The list of featured guests include Fabrice Monteiro, Billy Kahora, Emmanuel Iduma , Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Sulaiman Addonia, Lola Keyezua, Dzekashu Macviban, Brittle Paper’s Editor Ainehi Edoro, and many more.

The schedule of events include readings, conversations, interventions, lectures, culinary surprises and trajectories, publications on the Schlosspost online platform, exhibitions, performances, concerts and a German-Cameroonian conversation in comics.

The full schedule of events are available for download here.

 

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Otosirieze is deputy editor of Brittle Paper. He is a judge for the 2018/19 Gerald Kraak Prize and the 2019 Miles Morland Writing Scholarships. 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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