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Kalaf Epalanga. Photo credit: Matthew Pandolfe.

The Angolan musician and author Kalaf Epalanga, who looks like the actor Mahershala Ali, has been announced as the curator of the 2020 African Book Festival in Berlin. The inaugural event in 2018, themed “Writing in Migration,” was curated by the Nigerian novelist Olumide Popoola. The 2019 event, themed “Transitioning from Migration” and headlined by the novelist Ben Okri, was curated by the Zimbabwean novelist and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga. The 2020 event, to be held from 17–19 April of the year, is themed “Telling the Origin Stories” and will be “presenting literature, poetry and music from Portuguese-speaking parts of the world.”

The African Book Festival in Berlin is presented by the literary agency InterKontinental and sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The annual change in curation is so “in order to portray the continent in all its diversity as accurately as possible,” so that “every edition of the festival will highlight different languages, writers, books, regions as well as political issues at the centre of the debates.”

From the press release:

Kalaf Epalanga is a writer and musician born in Benguela, Angola and based in Berlin. As a musician, he co-founded the record label Enchufada, a creative and dynamic platform that promotes new music styles from Lisbon around the world, and went on to form the MTV Europe Music Award-winning band, Buraka Som Sistema (on hiatus since 2016).

He wrote a regular column of short literary chronicles for the prestigious Portuguese newspaper O PúblicoGQ magazine (Portugal), the independent Angolan online magazine REDE Angola, and collaborates regularly with the Brazilian literary magazine Quatro Cinco Um.

He has published in Angola and Portugal two collections of literary chronicles Estórias de Amor para Meninos de Cor (Love Stories for Kids of Color, 2011) and O Angolano que Comprou Lisboa (The Angolan Who Bought Lisbon [at Half the Price], 2014). His debut novel, Também os Brancos Sabem (The Whites Also Can Dance, 2017), was published by Editorial Caminho in Angola, Portugal, and Brazil.

For more information on the festival, send an email to info@interkontinental.org.

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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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