What is Africa Writes?
Africa Writes is the Royal African Society’s annual literature and book festival that takes place at the British Library over a three-day weekend every July. Since its inception in 2012, over 6,000 people have attended Africa Writes and the festival has also garnered an international following and reputation. Now in its 5th year, Africa Writes has become the UK’s leading platform celebrating the best contemporary African writing. The continuing wealth of literary talent stemming from Africa and the diaspora is incredibly vast and diverse and we are compelled to create a space to present these creative new voices and narratives, which we believe are so relevant for Africans and non-Africans alike. 2017 will be our 6th year and we'd love for you to join and support us!
What happens at Africa Writes?
Africa Writes showcases established and emerging literary talent from across the African continent and its diaspora, connecting UK audiences to leading African authors, poets, publishers and experts. In our short lifespan, we have hosted some of the biggest names in African literature, including Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o and son Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ, Ama Ata Aidoo, Wole Soyinka, Ben Okri and Nawal El Saadawi. We have also championed new writing, hosting the Caine Prize shortlisted writers every year, and presenting fresh new talent, such as poet Warsan Shire (the first Young Poet Laureate for London), queer artist and writer Diriye Osman, and playwrights Bola Agbaje and Joy Gharoro-Akpojotor, to mention but a few.
Hosted by the British Library, each year the festival brings together over 60 participants to deliver a wide-ranging programme, including book launches, panel discussions, performances, professional masterclasses, children and young people's workshops, as well as a book fair. We want the festival to be as accessible as possible and 90% of our three-day programme is free and open to all.
Our aims are:
- To provide a platform for African writers, publishers and artists to showcase their work in the UK
- To develop new audiences for contemporary African writing in the UK, offering them the opportunity to engage with both established writers and to discover new talent
- To build connections between writers, publishers and other professionals internationally
- To welcome audiences in a safe and productive space where a broad range of topics can be debated
- To develop an awareness among children and young people about the wealth and history of African literature through fun, educational workshops and activities
- To bring about a positive shift in the British public’s understanding of Africa, connecting people and promoting cross-cultural understanding
Why are we crowdfunding?
Africa Writes relies on a core team as well as a community of contributors, partners and friends that work together each year to make the festival happen. In the past our funding has come primarily from the Arts Council England and a small number of private donors. Our audience feedback tells us that you are keen to support this vital platform for African books and literature in the UK and to ensure its continuation, so we are turning to you to help us bring the festival back in 2017. We are appealing to you to donate whatever you can today to help us keep the majority of the programme free and open to all. Our crowdfunding target of £5,000 amounts to around one fifth of the total budget and will be a vital starting point for the rest of our fundraising throughout the year.
What will the money be used for?
- Covering the cost of educational workshops – including materials, preparation and facilitators
- Developing our education and outreach programme – taking workshops into local schools to spark an interest in African literature among primary and secondary school students
- Honorariums for guest writers and freelance professionals contributing to the talks and discussions at the festival
- Helping to cover the cost for local and international travel for guest writers and contributors
- Covering expenses for the team of volunteers who help run the festival
Offer your support!
If you believe in what we are doing, then please donate today!
If you’re not able to contribute, you can also show your support by spreading the word about this campaign on Facebook, Twitter and by telling your friends and contacts. To reach our target, we will need all the support we can get!
A BIG THANK YOU from all of us at the Royal African Society for your time and support! It is much appreciated and we are forever grateful!
Picture Credits: Ivan Gonzalez (2016) & Siddharth Khajuria (2012).