With: Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, Amina Jama, Rachida Lamrabet, Maaza Mengiste, Nadifa Mohamed, Minna Salami.
I Create. I am not a Muse, will celebrate six African feminists from all the corners of Africa who are reshaping literature at home & abroad. The spotlight is on the writer as the creator and will showcase how these pioneering women are moving the literary world of Africa and beyond forward with bold, innovative ideas.
This event is organized by The Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (in exile), conceived by Sulaiman Addonia, in partnership with Afropolitan Festival. The Asmara-Addis Literary Festival (in exile), supported by BOZAR & the Commune of Ixelles, is a new pan-Africanist literary event with feminist principles at its heart.
Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, OBE is the founding Publishing Director of The Indigo Press. The former deputy editor of Granta magazine, she was senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House and assistant editor at Penguin. Her journalism has appeared in the Telegraph, Guardian and Observer newspapers and in Spectator and The Griffith Review magazines. A founding patron of the Etisalat (now 9Mobile) Literary Prize, she also sits on the Advisory board for Art for Amnesty and the Editorial Advisory Panel of the Johannesburg Review of Books. In 2011 she was awarded an OBE for services to the publishing industry.
Amina Jama is a London based Somali-British writer. She was the Roundhouse & BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Words First London finalist, alumni of Barbican Young Poets, co-host of BoxedIN at Boxpark Shoreditch, and Assistant Tutor for the Roundhouse Poetry Collective. Her work explores displacement, dual cultural identity and family. She has been published in The Things I Would Tell You, a Saqi Books anthology, and Rising Stars children’s anthology by Otter-Barry Books. She has been commissioned by the BBC, The Queens Gallery, Buckingham Palace, and the London Mayors Office.
Rachida Lamrabet is a Moroccan-Belgian writer who writes in Dutch. She debutes in 2007 with the novel Vrouwland (Womens country). Later her short story collection Een kind van God (A child of god) is published in 2009 for which she receives in January 2010 the BNG Nieuwe Literatuurprijs (BNG New Literature prize) in Amsterdam (The Netherlands).Her second novel De man die niet begraven wilde worden (The man who didn’t wanted to be buried) appeared at De Bezige Bij, Antwerp in 2011.In September 2018 she published her third novel, ‘Vertel het iemand.’ was published.
Maaza Mengiste's debut novel, Beneath the Lion's Gaze, was selected by the Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe and other publications. A recipient of a 2018 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, she is also a Fulbright Scholar, a Puterbaugh Fellow, and a Runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, New York Review of Books, Granta, the Guardian, the New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places.
Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somalia, and studied History and Politics at St. Hilda's College, Oxford University. Her first novel, Black Mamba Boy, won the Betty Trask Prize, was long-listed for the Orange Prize, and was short-listed for the Guardian First Book Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the PEN Open Book Award. Her second novel, The Orchard of Lost Souls, was published in 2013 and won a Somerset Maugham Prize and the Prix Albert Bernard, and was long-listed for The Dylan Thomas Prize and short-listed for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award.
She writes regularly for The Guardian, The New York Times, Lithub, and Freeman's. Her work is translated into fourteen languages.
Minna Salami is an author, blogger, social critic and international keynote speaker, and the founder of the multiple award-winning blog, MsAfropolitan, which connects feminism with critical reflections on contemporary culture from an Africa-centred perspective. She is listed by ELLE Magazine as “one of twelve women changing the world” alongside Angelina Jolie and Michelle Obama. As an international keynote speaker Minna has presented to audiences at the European Parliament, the Oxford Union, Yale University, TEDx, The Singularity University at NASA and UNWomen among others. She is a contributor to The Guardian, Al Jazeera and the Royal Society of the Arts, and a columnist for the Guardian Nigeria. Minna is Nigerian, Finnish and Swedish and lives in between London and Lagos. Her debut book, Sensuous Knowledge, is forthcoming in Spring 2020.