R172. Not Just Novelists: On Publishing Contemporary African Poets

Marquis Salon 6, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Two
Thursday, February 9, 2017
12:00 pm to 1:15 pm


Across a vast continent of more than fifty nations, contemporary African poets are writing into an increasingly global culture. Despite growing enthusiasm for the African novel, few are reading—and fewer publishing—African poets. Editors and writers from the African Poetry Book Fund, dedicated to publishing and promoting African poets, discuss the challenges in locating the most interesting poetry coming out of Africa and strategies to connect these writers to an international literary audience.



Matthew Shenoda is the author of Somewhere Else, winner of the American Book Award, Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone, and Tahrir Suite. He is associate professor in the Department of Creative Writing at Columbia College Chicago. For more information visit: www.matthewshenoda.com

Chris Abani's recent books are The Secret History of Las Vegas, The Face: A Memoir, and Sanctificum. Honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the PEN/Hemingway Award, an Edgar Prize, a Ford USA Artists Fellowship, and the PEN Beyond the Margins Award. He is a professor of English at Northwestern University.

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s five collections of poetry include When the Wanderers Come Home, Where the Road Turns, and Becoming Ebony. A survivor of the Liberian civil war, Patricia’s poems explore war and survival. She is associate professor of English and creative writing at Penn State Altoona.

Tsitsi Jaji is a Zimbabwean American poet and literary critic. Her first full-length collection, Beating the Graves, is out this year. She is also author of a chapbook, Carnaval, and a scholarly book, Africa in Stereo. She teaches English at Duke University.

Mukoma Wa Ngugi is an assistant professor of English at Cornell University and the author of Black Star Nairobi, Nairobi Heat, and Hurling Words at Consciousness. He is the cofounder of the Mabati-Cornell Kiswahili Prize for African Literature and codirector of the Global South Project—Cornell.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center