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in partnership with FREE WORD CENTRE


October 26 - 27, 2012

Funded by

Keynote Address + Q&A

The Other Versions: Adventures in Non-Fiction

Abdulrazak Gurnah

Musa Okwonga & Hannah Pool

Friday October 26: 6.45pm - 6 (free with day or two-day pass)

A respected academic for many years, and a champion of emerging writers through his work as Associate Editor of the international journal, Wasafiri, Abdulrazak Gurnah is uniquely placed to comment on the position and possibilities of African writing and publishing. Issues of identity and displacement - common themes in his work have uncanny parallels with the lives of African writers, many seeking success away from home.

Saturday October 27: 3.25 - 4.30pm - 6 (free with day or two-day pass)
For a continent of its size and history, Africa produces little in the way of non-academic non-fiction. Sporting heroes and giants of industry come and go, leaving no document of their trials and achievements. However, there are writers from the continent - young and old - writing authoritative , accessible non-fiction on subjects ranging from cookery to colonialism. Musa Okwonga, a football writer, and Hannah Pool, a memoirist - both journalists - are just two of the finer exponents of the varied non-fiction writing originating from the continent.

Written on Tongues: Spoken Word Friday October 26: 8.30pm - 6

Patience Agbabi, Kayo Chingonyi & Warsan Shire

(free with day or two-day pass)

Alastair Bruce & Aminatta Forna

Saturday October 27: 4.45 - 5.45pm - 6 (free with day or two-day pass)
The two novelists featured in our festival-closing reading are authors of books that deal with trauma and the ways in which human existence reconciles itself with the aftermath of treacherous acts. In Alastair Bruces Wall of Days we get a glimpse of the point beyond the possibility of reconciliation, while in Aminatta Fornas prizewinning The Memory of Love we are plunged into the immediate aftermath of Charles Taylors bloody interference in Sierra Leone.

Patience Agbabi, Kayo Chingonyi and Warsan Shire are three of the finest poets published in recent years, but they also have that quality that sets real lovers of the music of language apart from mere poets they deliver their work beautifully out loud, drawing out - from tongue and tooth - emotional responses that ink can not deliver. They are on stage together for the first time ever to launch the readings programme of the inaugural African Book Festival.

History-Imagined Futures: Opportunities in African Publishing

Ellah Allfrey & Goretti Kyomuhendo

Saturday October 27: 12.05 - 1.30pm - 6 (free with day or two-day pass)
With the increased visibility of genre-fiction from Africa, Western commentators have wondered if a new age has come, only to be told by the young novelists they interview that Cyprian Ekwensi came before, and Kojo Laing was re-framing language before any of the new pretenders. With an eye on this forgotten past, Ellah Allfrey and Goretti Kyomuhendo, explore the opportunities in African publishing as well as the gaps - for example, the relative dearth of non-fiction writing and the difficulties faced in getting a true reflection of the work written in Africa in the output of the global publishing industry.

Getting to the Free Word Centre

60 Farringdon Road London EC1R 3GA.
(Farringdon Tube)

African Futures Carousel

Saturday October 27: 2.15 - 3.15pm - FREE

New writers rarely come out of nowhere. They write and, sometimes, do readings away from the eyes of the mainstream - in some cases (as with Chris Abani) they have been published in their countries of origin without making a splash in the world outside their borders. The AF Carousel gives you a chance to peer into the gap, see the future before it happens. The spotlight is on Tina Okpara, and her memoir, My Life Has A Price.

The African Futures Carousel is FREE, but all other programmes in the African Book Festival cost 6 for entry. Paying for all individually would cost 35, but we have a two-day pass for the entire festival available at 25 from the festival website at www.slamcentral.org/abf. There is also a day-pass for October 26 at 10 and a day-pass for October 27 at 15. All passes can be bought immediately and will be delivered before the festival. Tickets for individual events will go on sale on October 1.

Public Transport: The Free Word Centre is located opposite 119 Farringdon Road and next to the Betsy Trotwood pub, a 5-minute walk from Farringdon Station. Cars: There is an NCP car park next to the Centre at 1 Bowling Green Lane.