Top row: Ben Okri and Leila Aboulela. Bottom row: Novuyo Rosa Tshuma and Rania Mamoun.

This year’s Pittsburgh International Literary Festival, organized by City of Asylum, features prominent African writers including Ben Okri, Leila Aboulela, Rania Mamoun, and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma. The two-week festival runs from September 30 to October 15 and all programs are free to the public.

The annual literary festival is run by City of Asylum, a nonprofit organization based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that helps writers exiled from their countries for their controversial writing. Exiled writers accepted to the organization receive two years of financial and medical support for their families and up to four years of free housing.

The Pittsburgh International Literary Festival celebrates global literature and encourages cross-cultural exchange. The 2023 fest includes more than 50 artists representing over 20 countries and nations, 17 free workshops, panels, author interviews, and special performances for kids, teens, and adults.

We highly recommend that Brittle Paper readers based in Pittsburgh check out the festival since it features some of our favorite African writers this year! See the events below:

Freedom to Create Keynote

Every year, the festival honors as the keynote an international writer or artist who shares the mission of promoting creative freedom for all. This year, the keynote will be given by none other than Booker Prize-winning Nigerian-British poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright Ben Okri.

The event will take place on Saturday, September 30 at 3 PM ET. Get free in-person or livestream tickets now.

Writing Away from Home

This program features a conversation between the two female Sudanese writers, Caine Prize winner Leila Aboulela and City of Asylum writer-in-residence Rania Mamoun. The two women will discuss the breadth of their work through multiple genres, their experiences living away from Sudan, and how being away from home has influenced their work.

The event will take place on Wednesday, October 4 at 7 PM ET. Get free in-person or livestream tickets now.

Blending Drama & Desire

In this reading and conversation, Zimbabwean author Novuyo Rosa Tshuma will discuss her latest novel Digging Stars that examines the complexities of colonialism, racism, and what it means to be American. The discussion will be moderated by City of Asylum Advisory Board member Anderson Tepper, and followed by an audience Q&A and book signing.

The event will take place on Sunday, October 8 at 6 PM ET. Get free in-person or livestream tickets now.

Check out these events and more at the stunning 2023 Pittsburgh LitFest this year. The full schedule is available here.