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African Writing Archives

Current A.W.

Marechera Remembered
Marechera Festival, Oxford, 15 - 17th May

A three-day symposium on the writings of Dambudzo Marechera will take place at the University of Oxford from May 15 to May 17, 2009. The inter-disciplinary symposium will look at the legacy of Dambudzo Marechera and the general state of Zimbabwean writing today.

Marechera is widely regarded as one of the most innovative African writers of the 20th century. The symposium will feature a scholarly conference, original theatre plays, film, music, poetry performances by Zimbabwean poets, a photo exhibition and a tribute concert by Chimanimani.

International scholars, writers and artists expected at the event include Ben Okri, Helon Habila, Brian Chikwava, Flora Veit-Wild, James Currey, Robert Fraser, and David Pattison.

Participants will give both creative and academic interpretations of Marechera’s writing. They will also analyze African literature in the 21st century with emphasis on transnational cultural interaction, creative freedom across national borders, all of which Marechera embodied.

is one of the sponsors of this event.

2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award Finalists announced

The organisers of the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award recently released a list of 33 finalists:

Ken Barris The life of Worm. Nadia DavidsThe visit. Ceridwen DoveySurvival mechanisms. Joan du ToitAn informed decision. Graham EllisNo match for Fanie Smith. Rosemund J HandlerStrident night.
Jeanne Hromnik
Love In troubled times. Karen JayesWhere he will leave his shoes.
Suzanne JordaanBeulah. Bobby Jordan Metalhead and Situation Orange. Chisanga KabingaDisplay cabinet. Ken N KamocheA kiss in Nanjing. Yvette KrugerWhat I wore. Lauri KubuitsilePulani’s eyes. Beatrice LamwakaThe star in my camp. Jennifer LeanTo each his own. Irene McCartney Pauline’s ghost. Jenna MervisThe lives of dogs. Kirsten MillerOnly in art.
NoViolet Mkha BulawayoSnapshots.
Wame MolefheRainbow-coloured dreams.
Natasha MoodleySpirit of Madala. Isabella MorrisBluette. Kyne Nislev BernstorffThe last supper. Naomi NkealahIn the name of peace. Maik NwosuIn Leopardville. Tolu Ogunlesi River Falling. Omolola Ijeoma OgunyemiArea boy rescue. Andrew SalomonA visit to Dr Mamba. Alex Smith Soulmates. Dineke VolschenkGlorious wounds. Phillippa Yaa de Villiers Keeping everything the same. Hayet ZFlypapered days.


The award received 827 entries, of which, 202 were disqualified. Just under 200 stories were longlisted, and 34 stories were chosen as finalists by the PEN Editorial Board comprising Shaun Johnson (Chair), Anthony Fleischer, Justin Fox, Harry Garuba, Alistair King and Mary Watson. Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee is currently judging the shortlisted stories and will choose the winners of the first (£5 000), second (£3 000) and third (£2 000) prizes. The winners will be announced in May 2009.The finalists’ stories will be included in an anthology of new writing from Africa to be published later this year.

Adichie Wins the Nonino


Chimamanda Adichie


The 2009 International Nonino Prize has been awarded to African writer, Chimamanda Ngozi-Adichie. She won the prize for her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.

The Nonino Prize was established in 1984 in Italy as a literary prize for foreign writers. Renowned African writer, Chinua Achebe won the same prize in 1994.

This year’s prize was judged by a team presided over by the Nobel laureate VS Naipaul. In his citation, he praised Adichie for writing “pages full of domestic mercy and love for her land, portraying living affections in the scenery of the difficult post-colonial years.” Other members of the team were John Banville, Peter Brook and Claudio Magris.

Nonino Prize comes in four categories: the Nonino Risit d'Aur Prize, won by Malgari di Carnia, the Nonino Prize, won by Silvia Perez-Vitoria, the Master of Our Time Nonino prize won by Hugh Thomas, and the International Nonino Prize, won by Ngozi-Adichie.

The prize was awarded on Saturday, January 31, 2009 at the Distillerie Nonino in Udinese, Italy. It comes with a cash value of 8,000 Italian liali. Ms. Adichie had won the Orange Prize in 2007 for the same novel. Last year, The Macarthur Foundation named Chimamanda Adichie a 2008 fellow.

Orphans Lullaby Achebe delivers
Ahajioku Lecture

Chinua Achebe

Renowned author, Chinua Achebe, recently delivered the Ahiajioku Lecture in Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria. It was part of the events marking the first Festival of Igbo Civilization.

The festival was established as an umbrella event to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Things Fall Apart. In his lecture, Chinua Achebe urged Igbo people not to allow “the civil war to depress indefinitely their spirit and should galvanize their myriad talents to develop Ani Igbo and Nigeria. They have achieved this lofty goal in the past and they can do it again.”

He continued, “The enterprising spirit of Ndi Igbo has led to great success in merchant professions and the acquisition of wealth, often very great riches, among a certain segment of our people.”

He then warned that, “There is an ugly under belly of this great success. An endemic obsession for materialistic accumulation has taken a hold of Igboland and has the dire possibility of eroding, permanently, the moral and intellectual capability of an entire society. Civilizations that have been obsessed with money and materialistic accumulation alone have all failed. We need to emphasize the importance of ideas and education, not simply for job attainment, but for the overall improvement and advancement of our civilization.”

It was Chinua Achebe’s second visit to Nigeria since 1990 when he was involved in a car accident that left him paralyzed. The first visit was in 1999 when he delivered the inaugural Odenigbo Lecture.

2009 Book Fairs:

Havana: 14 -21 February

Tunis:  24th Apr - 3rd May

Lagos:  11th - 16th May

Cape Town: 13th - 15th June

Harlem Book Fair: 18th July



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I wonder too whether my son will continue to be colour blind where I see race. And whether his generation will judge a person by the measure of their character instead of the shade of their skin. Zukiswa

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