Monday, November 14, 2016

Zimbabwean Literature takes the stage in Nigeria

Tendai Huchu at Africa Writes (BAS News and Events)

NoViolet Bulawayo (courtesy of Ake)
Zimbabwean literature is well represented at this year's Ake Arts & Book Festival, which takes place this week in Akeokuta, Nigeria, with Zimbabwean writers Tendai Huchu, NoViolet Bulawayo and Panashe Chigumadzi taking part. Ake Festival is ‘five days of cultural immersion'. Its aim is to develop, promote and celebrate creativity on the African continent. This, the fourth edition, will feature 18 authors in 'Book Chats', as well as panel discussions, interviews, workshops, concerts and a night of poetry. Other writers taking part include Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Helon Habila, Chinelo Okparanta, Lidudumalingani, Teju Cole, Yewande Omotoso and Zukiswa Wanner. Lidudumalingani, a South African, won this year’s Caine Prize for African Writing with his story, ‘Memories We Lost’. The Caine anthology is published in Zimbabwe by amaBooks.

Ngugi wa Thiong'o (courtesy of Ake)
A panel discussion, moderated by academic Dr Ranka Primorac, will consider 'From the Land of the Flame Lily: New Fiction from Zimbabwe', with panellists Tendai Huchu, Panashe Chigumadzi and NoViolet Bulawayo. NoViolet Bulawayo is well known, through winning the Caine Prize for African Writing and through her Booker Prize shortlisted novel We Need New Names, while Zimbabwe-born Panashe Chigumadzi's debut novel Sweet Medicine has recently been published in South Africa. Tendai Huchu's debut novel The Hairdresser of Harare achieved international success, and his second novel The Maestro, The Magistrate & The Mathematician has already been published in Zimbabwe, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and in Nigeria. Ranka Primorac is a lecturer at the University of Southampton and is the author of The Place of Tears: The Novel and Politics in Modern Zimbabwe.

Each of the writers above will talk about their recent work in 'Book Chats' that take place throughout the festival. As well as the panel discussing Zimbabwean fiction, Tendai Huchu will take part in a panel on 'Flying Dreams and Alien Nightmares: Speculative Fiction in Modern African Writing'.  

Last year, Bulawayo-based writer Bryony Rheam was at Ake. Her debut novel, This September Sun, has been published in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as in Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom. There are a growing number of literary festivals across Africa bringing readers in contact with the writers.

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