Edinburgh International Book Festival Online Themes: Africa: A Balance of Stories

Ten writers we commissioned to journey across Africa and create new works from their experience - give voice to untold stories.

Edinburgh International Book Festival Online Themes: Africa: A Balance of Stories

About Edinburgh International Book Festival Online Themes: Africa: A Balance of Stories

Before his death, acclaimed Nigerian author Chinua Achebe had an ambition - to inspire voiceless peoples to share their own histories and create a global ‘balance of stories’.

This year, authors from across the continent tell their stories, and our Outriders - ten writers we commissioned to journey across Africa and create new works from their experience - give voice to untold stories.

Ekow Eshun: Africa is a State of Mind
Tue 18 Aug 13:00 - 14:00
Home to more than 1.2 billion people, Africa is the world’s second most populous continent. Gaining a better understanding of this complex and diverse land, according to Ekow Eshun, rests not simply in thinking about its geography but about ‘looking inwards’ to the mindsets of its inhabitants.

Eliza Anyangwe & Emmanuel Iduma: Outriders Africa – Deconstructing the Travelogue
Wednesday 19 August 13:00 - 14:00
Originally from Cameroon and raised in several countries around the continent before settling in Europe, celebrated journalist Eliza Anyangwe travels regularly across Africa, yet often finds herself confronted by that infamous question: 'where are you from?'. Meanwhile, the language barriers faced by Lagos-born travel writer Emmanuel Iduma, author of the 2019 Ondaatje Prize longlisted A Stranger’s Pose, have seen him viewed suspiciously by fellow Africans as a 'mute observer'.

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi: Uganda’s First Woman of Fiction
Wednesday 19 August 14:30 - 15:30
Ugandan short story writer and novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi burst onto the scene when she won The Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013 with her first novel Kintu. Since then, she’s garnered legions of readers and accolades including a Commonwealth Short Story Prize and, in 2018, a Windham Campbell Prize.

Maaza Mengiste: When Italy Invaded Ethiopia
Wednesday 19 August 17:30 - 18:30
In Maaza Mengiste’s latest novel, the shadowy nature of figures from the past is played out in complex and interlocking ways. The Shadow King is powerful, stirring historical fiction that centres women within stories of war and battle that have traditionally excluded them, eliding their contribution and their fight.

Wanjiru Koinange & Donna Obaseki-Ogunnaike: Outriders Africa – Sub-Saharan Swiping
Friday 21 August 11:30 - 12:30
Seeking to decode where love lies for women in modern Africa are two of its literary scene’s most charming characters: Donna Obaseki-Ogunnaike, an Energy Law expert, poet, writer and theatre practitioner, previously dubbed the 'queen of spoken word poetry in Nigeria’; and Wanjiru Koinange, a Kenyan writer, raised on a farm on the outskirts of Nairobi, whose mission to restore Nairobi’s iconic public libraries with her social enterprise Book Bunk has received wide praise.

Alain Mabanckou: Rewriting the Congolese Story
Friday 21 August 17:30 - 18:30
The luminary Mabanckou talks to award-winning writer, critic and cultural journalist Maya Jaggi, reflecting on the highs and lows of a career spanning four decades, and his enduring ability to boil the sweeping grand narratives of African history into exuberant, mischievous family dramas.

Nadine Aisha Jassat & Tsitsi Dangarembga: Outriders Africa Following in their Footsteps
Monday 24 August 11:30 - 12:30
Rising star of Scottish poetry Nadine Aisha Jassat embarked on a poignant journey across the south-east of the continent with Zimbabwe-based writer and film-maker Tsitsi Dangarembga, whose 1988 debut Nervous Conditions was included in the BBC's 2018 list of the 100 books that shaped the world.

Nadine Aisha Jassat, Sabrina Mahfouz & Amanda Thomson: Outriders Africa - Cape Town, From Art to Ancestry
Wednesday 26 August 11:30 - 12:30
Three UK-based writers with razor-sharp perspectives traversed the breathtaking landscapes of South Africa’s Cape Town.

Wayétu Moore: Setting Liberia’s History Free
Wednesday 26 August 16:00 - 17:00
Melding historical record with magic realism and fantastical elements, Moore weaves an extraordinary retelling of the formation and early years of Liberia.

Kayus Bankole & Kei Miller: Outriders Africa from East to West
Monday 31 August 11:30 - 12:30
Hear from award-winning writer Kei Miller, whose barnstorming latest poetry collection, In Nearby Bushes, was tipped as one of the best books of 2019 by the Telegraph. He's joined in this special event by writer-musician Kayus Bankole, a founding member of Edinburgh’s own Mercury Prize-winning band Young Fathers.

While we take every opportunity to ensure the details for Edinburgh International Book Festival Online Themes: Africa: A Balance of Stories are accurate, we always advise that you contact the event organiser before setting out for the event to avoid disapointment. All information (whether in text or photographs) is given in good faith but should not be relied upon as being a statement of representation or fact.

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