Stimmen Afrikas, in collaboration with the “Literary Translation” masters program at Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, will be hosting a Shortstory Festival. In its twelfth year, Stimmen Afrikas aims to create a market for African literature in Germany. The 2019 festival, themed “Crossing Borders: Translate, Transpose, Communicate,” was held in Cologne, Germany and was curated by Bibi Bakare-Yusuf.

The 2021 festival, which is open to the public, is themed “Imagining the Future: Against the Oblivion” and will be held in two phases. The first phase will take place from April 23 and 25. Six African writers from six different countries will read twelve short stories. Sinzo Aanza (Congo), Nafissatou Dia Diouf (Senegal), Karen Jennings (South Africa), Jennifer N. Makumbi (Uganda), Olumide Popoola (Germany/Nigeria), Jo Güstin (Cameroon) are some of the writers featured. In addition to being read, the stories will be translated from English and French to German.

The second phase of the festival, which will take place from May until December features readings of works by students of the “Literary Translation” masters program. The organizers describe the 2021 edition as an “exquisite literary journey and border-crossing encounter between a new generation of writers and translators.”

The press release below details the events and everyone involved.

Imagining the Future – Against the Oblivion

Europeans are still confident enough to define which image of Africa fits to our global horizon. However, relations between Europe and Africa have been shaped and continue to be dominated by violence. stimmen afrikas, together with the masters’ programme “Literary Translation” (Heinrich- Heine-Universität Düsseldorf), invites to enter a dialogue with African intellectuals and artists to debate about the past and build a common future.

For the series of events, there will be readings of twelve short stories by six African writers from six different countries. The first six stories – by Sinzo Aanza (Congo), Nafissatou Dia Diouf (Senegal), Karen Jennings (South Africa), Jennifer N. Makumbi (Uganda), Olumide Popoola (Germany/Nigeria), Jo Güstin (Cameroon) – look back at the past and fight against oblivion. They will be presented at our short story festival with 6 LIVESTREAMS between April 23 and April 25, 2021.

Until then – and this is particularly special about this event – the short stories will be translated from French and English into German by students of the masters’ programme “Literary Translation” (HHU Düsseldorf). During the live stream, moderators will bring the authors, their respective translators, and the audience together into conversation (via chat). The audience can look forward to a variety of exciting contributors:
Moderators: Elisa Diallo, Moustapha Diallo, Mariama Jalloh, Elnathan John and Liz Shoo
Readers: Dela Dabulamanzi, Oliver El-Fayoumy, Azizè Flittner, Robin Gooch, Prince Kuhlmann and Karmela Shako
Translators: Sarah Bremer, Loredana Fiorello, Kathrin Hettrich, Gundula Horning, Esther Klehm, Janna Krampe and Lena Riebl,
Interpretation into German: Jutta Himmelreich und Elisabeth Müller

In a second phase, from May until December 2021, stimmen afrikas will then present six future- oriented short stories which have been commissioned by stimmen afrikas and again translated by students of the masters’ programme “Literary Translation”. Imagining the Future – Against Oblivion will shed light on the entanglements between the past and the future, while also revealing regional and cultural characteristics of future imaginations. The texts reflect the complex and dynamic relations of our diversified, global societies and also include experiences from the diaspora.

Due to the joint work of writers and translators, the audience gets the unique chance to participate in a highly sensitive project, which at the same time represents a process of communication between Africa and Europe. All twelve short stories will be published in a trilingual anthology which is part of the series “Düsseldorf übersetzt” (“Düsseldorf translates”), presumably in 2022. stimmen afrikas cordially invites to this exquisite literary journey and border-crossing encounter between a new generation of writers and translators.

Find more information here.