Kenyan author and 2003 Caine Prize winner Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is among the 37 African authors expected at the first African Book Festival / Photo: Screenshot/IMM

Berlin hosts first-ever African literary festival in Germany

For the first time, a literary festival devoted to the work of African writers will hold in Germany.

From 26-28 April, more than 35 African writers will gather in Berlin for the African Book Festival, featuring readings, poetry, spoken word and theatre performances, panel discussions, book signings and networking events.

Among the writers expected in the German capital city are Chris Abani (Nigeria/US), Linda Gabriel (Zimbabwe), Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Nigeria), Zukiswa Wanner (South Africa), Chika Unigwe (Nigeria) and Yvonne Owuor (Kenya).

A total of 82 books, which were originally published in English, of which 13 have been translated into German so far, will be presented at the event.

The Festival, whose theme is “Writing in Migration”, is first and foremost about people on the move, the organisers say. “African writers’ ideas, their knowledge and perspectives take centre stage. The issues discussed will diverge significantly from other literary events since the programme is explicitly shaped from an African perspective.”

“All 37 authors present at the festival deal with the topic of migration in their writing. Their works are partly inspired by autobiographical experiences, but they equally narrate universal stories revolving around a global, century-old phenomenon.”

The African Book Festival Berlin is organised by the literary agency InterKontinental, whose directors are Karla Kutzner and Stefanie Hirsbrunner, and which creates a platform for African voices and perspectives through literary events.

The German-Nigerian writer and poet Olumide Popoola is in charge of the event’s artistic direction this year.

The Festival, which will be annual event from 2018, is sponsored by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes and the Berlin Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa as well as supporters of its crowdfunding campaign.

Vivian Asamoah

African Book Festival Berlin 2018

Date: 26-28 April

Venue: Cinema Babylon, Rosa-Luxemburg-Straße 30, 10178 Berlin

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