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Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

As part of their three-year artistic partnership, the University of Manchester and the Manchester-based arts venue HOME have created a knowledge exchange programme and a literature event series to be led by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE, who has been appointed Senior Research Fellow. It is her fourth major appointment this year, following her being named Chair of the Caine Prize, her joining Canongate as Editor-at-Large for Fiction, and her induction into the Royal Society of Literature.

Here is the announcement on the university site:

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE is to lead a new annual series of literature events, as part of a new 3-year artistic partnership between The University of Manchester and arts venue HOME.

The Complete Works is the next phase of collaboration between HOME and University academics, which to date have spanned theatre, visual art and film, and will now explore international, experimental and political themes in conversations with some of the most exciting contemporary writers working today.

Ellah has been appointed as Senior Research Fellow to facilitate knowledge exchange between the University’s Centre for New Writing and HOME, and to curate a series of literature events over three years. She is Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books, and was the founding Publishing Director of The Indigo Press.

She is chair of the Caine Prize for African writing and she served on the judging panel of the 2017 Dublin International Literary Award and the 2015 Man Booker Prize. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services to the publishing industry, and earlier this month, she was appointed as an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Year 1 of the series launches in September, featuring acclaimed writers whose work encapsulates the theme Hope & Resistance, including Jackie Kay, Gary Younge, Kamila Shamsie, Christina Lamb & Aminatta Forna.

“I envisage this series as a unique opportunity to invite audiences to ‘slow down’ in our current environment of fast news via social media and instant reactions,” Allfrey said. “Focusing on leading international writers, each conversation will draw on their complete body of work – asking key questions about pervading themes and examining the impact their work has had on how we understand the events of our time, the world we live in and the human condition.”

Professor John McAuliffe, poet and co-director of the Centre for New Writing at The University of Manchester, said: “Ellah has been a key figure in the changing landscape of UK literature, and these in-depth interviews will bring some of the world’s leading writers, in all genres, to a great civic space in the city.”

Dave Moutrey, Director and Chief Executive of HOME Manchester and Director of Culture for Manchester, stated: “Since HOME first opened its doors in 2015, we’ve seen some of the most seismic changes in our national landscape for a generation. . . The Complete Works is driven by this urge to question, share, challenge and discuss. We are delighted to work with The University of Manchester and Ellah Wakatama Allfrey to explore Hope & Resistance in this exciting series of events.”

We congratulate Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

Find out more on the university site.

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About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he is a judge for The Gerald Kraak Prize and was a judge for The Morland Writing Scholarship in 2019. He is Nonfiction 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 Curator at 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 work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. 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 has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. 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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