Saturday, October 01, 2005

Cheltenham Literature Festival 2005

Wale Okediran & Diran Adebayo in the British Museum Reading Room, July 2005 - © M.Wood
"Africa is all over the news this year but many of the words heard and images seen, not least Bob Geldof's Live-8 line-up, have only confirmed to me that the position that vast continent occupies in the British imagination has barely moved on in the past 20 years. My plan for Cheltenham '05 was to put a bit more African nuance and depth on the table, as well, of course, as showcasing quality new writing. Journeys, both mental and physical, is the theme of our event with British-African diasporans Ekow Eshun, Bernadine Evaristo and Dee Jarrett Macaulay, and African heritage bubbles through the consciousnesses of the British protagonists of Orange New Writer's winner Diana Evans and her fellow debut-novelists. We have a new Catch-22 style satire in the shape of Patrick Wilmot's Seeing Double, and perfomance and discussions on the current health of African literature and Brit-African / black British theatre with a cast of luminaries. Oh, and did I mention the Cabaret> As they say, in my part of the old country, 'Eku gbadun' (Enjoy!)"

- The above is what writer Diran Adebayo had to say about this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival, which takes place 7-16 October in Cheltenham, UK. Adebayo is a Guest Director for this year's edition and has programmed exciting African writers, in keeping with the idea of Africa 05.

Some events & writers to look out for:

Saturday 8 October
African Journeys (Venue: Town Hall)
Extraordinary journeys, some into the past, and some into themselves, shape the recent work of writers Bernadine Evaristo, Delia Jarrett-MacCauley and Ekow Eshun. They talk to Diran Adebayo about the powerful journeys behind their latest books.

Diana Evans @ Africa Remix, April 2005 - © M.Wood
Diana Evans, David Nwokedi & Valerie Mason John (Town Hall)
Is being caught between two cultures a pro, a con, or something in-between? This is precisely the question asked by three of Britain's most exciting young novelists, Orange Award for New Writers winner Diana Evans (26a), David Nwokedi (Fitzgerald's Wood) and Valerie Mason John (Borrowed Body) - in conversation with Diran Adebayo.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @ Africa Remix, April 2005 - © M.Wood

Defining African Writing (12.15-1.15pm, Town Hall)
Romesh Gunesekera, judge of 2005 Caine Prize, and authors Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Patrick Wilmot join publisher Kadija George to discuss why the literary world still searches for that elusive 'African voice' from the worlds most disparate continent.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @ the Orange Prize ceremony, June 2004 - © M.Wood

Diana Evans & Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie @ Africa Remix, April 2004 - © M.Wood

Kenyan Binyavanga Wainaina, winner of the 2002 Caine Prize, will appear at the Festival at 7.15pm, on a panel discussion on the world's attembe to define 'African Writing'. Wainaina is the founder of Kwani? a literary magazine. He also reads at the Town Hall on Sunday the 9th, at 7.15pm.

The UK's leading African Theatre company, Tiata Fahodzi, performs the play The Estate - an adaption of The Cherry Orchard - at the festival, Town Hall at 7.15, Saturday the 8th.

Sunday 9 October

Kwame Kwei-Armah, Biyi Bandele, Jude Kelly & David Oyelowo (Town Hall, 8.45pm): Kwame Kwei Armah was the fist black British writer to have his play Elmina's Kitchen in London' s West End. He and the other panelists talk about this watershed in black British theatre. David Oyelowo was the first black actor to play on Shakespeare's Henry VI on the British stage.

Other Events

  • Two writers, Andrea Levy (Small Island) & Maggie Gee (My Cleaner) in discussion - Sunday 9th, 4pm.
  • Maya Angelou discusses her new book, Hallelujah, Town Hall, Saturday 8th, 12pm.
  • Alice Walker in a rare UK appearance, at The Centaur, Saturday 8th, 2.30pm.
  • Zadie Smith discusses new novel, On Beauty - Saturday 15th October, 2pm, at the Everyman.


Anonymous Onyeka Nwelue said...

U really do a good coverage.


2:05 pm, October 04, 2005  

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