The South African writer, filmmaker, and winner of the 2016 Caine Prize for African Writing, Lidudumalingani, has been named curator of the 2022 African Book Festival in Berlin, set to take place from 19 – 21 August 2022.
The festival, themed “Yesterday.Today.Tomorrow,” will focus on South African literature and culture in an attempt to “counter the questionable narratives of the so-called continent in crisis” using South Africa —with all the unfair, negative international press it has endured at the height of COVID— as a case study. The theme “explores the connections between writers— the way older writers hold the hand of the young writers when they write, and how, in turn, they too hold the hand of the writers coming after them.”
Presented by the literary agency InterKontinental and sponsored by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and Berlin’s Senate Department for Culture and Europe, the African Book Festival in Berlin annually assembles writers and readers from the continent and beyond to participate in a three-day long event including readings, concerts, panel discussions, poetry, and comedy.
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 2020/21 event, themed “Telling the Origin Stories” was curated by Angolan musician and author Kalaf Epalanga and headlined by fellow Angolan author Jose Eduardo Agualusa.
Curation of the event changes annually “in order to portray the continent in all its diversity as accurately as possible.” This allows for “every edition of the festival [to] highlight different languages, writers, books, regions as well as political issues at the centre of the debates.”
Lidudumalingani shot to literary limelight in 2016 when his short story “Memories We Lost” was announced as the winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing. He was named a Morland Foundation Scholar shortly after for his forthcoming novel Let Your Children Name Themselves. He is currently working, in addition to the novel, on a non-fiction book and a feature film.
For more details check out the festival’s press release.