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Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

We are delighted to announce the fourth in a series of creative writing workshops linked to the Africa Writes — Exeter Book Club and which explore language, history and craft.


Creative Non-Fiction Workshop: Writing Memory & Environment

Led by Rewrite’s Christina Fonthes

Date: Saturday 22 May

Time: 12pm — 2pm (Nairobi), 10am —12pm (Exeter)

Where: Please RSVP for Zoom Link


Craft Workshop

Based on an excerpt from Elizabeth-Jane Burnett’s The Grassling, REWRITE’s Christina Fonthes will lead this 2-hour creative-non fiction workshop exploring memory, language and environment. This inspiring workshop will support you in mining your personal histories and archives for story while helping you channel your inner creativity. Perfect for writers interested in experimenting with forms of memoir and life-writing, you’ll develop innovative approaches to structure, style and crafting untold stories.


Book Synopsis 

Spurred on by her father’s declining health and inspired by the history he once wrote of his small Devon village, Elizabeth-Jane Burnett delves through layers of memory, language and natural history to tell a powerful story of how the land shapes us and speaks to us. The Grassling is a book about roots: what it means to belong when the soil beneath our feet is constantly shifting, when the people and places that nurtured us are slipping away. 


About Christina Fonthes

Christina Fonthes is a Congolese-British writer. Her mantra ‘telling stories through any means possible’ allows her to bring untold stories to life through her poetry and performances. Her work, laden with themes of womanhood, religion, and sexuality has taken her all over the UK to perform. Her writing has been widely published in journals and anthologies worldwide. Passionate about the voices of Black Women and Women of colour, Christina is the founder of REWRITE a creative writing organization for Black Women and Women of Colour writers around the globe.

Buy: The Grassling HERE

Buy: Of Sea HERE

Buy: Swims HERE


This event is part of the African Literary Production: Networks & Exchanges series which is being launched through Exeter’s UNESCO City of Literature Programme.

Presented in partnership with Saseni!, Authors.CafeJalada AfricaFestival of IdeasLibraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter.

Past Events

Yolande Mukagasana

Huza Press (Kigali) and Authors.Café (Devon) are thrilled to announce the first event in a new collaborative literary programme featuring book launches and creative writing workshops.

Yolande Mukagasana will be in conversation with Zoe Norridge and Kristen Stern about the process of writing and translating her powerful testimony Not My Time to Die. 

Not My Time to Die was the first Rwandan-authored literary testimony of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda published in French in 1997 and now available in English for the first time.


Accessing the event

Date: Saturday 15 May, 2021

Time: 3pm (UK)

Book via Eventbrite and the zoom link will be sent to you 48 hours before the event.


About Not My Time to Die

‘This book was one of the first literary testimonies that I read in French about Rwanda. I found it profoundly moving — both realistic and introspective. Thanks to this beautiful translation, it is at long last available to the English-speaking public.’ Véronique Tadjo

Yolande Mukagasana is a Rwandan nurse and mother of three children who likes wearing jeans and designer glasses. She runs her own clinic in Nyamirambo and is planning a party for her wedding anniversary. But when genocide starts everything changes. Targeted because she’s a successful woman and a Tutsi, she flees for her life.

This gripping memoir describes the betrayal of friends and help that comes from surprising places. Quick-witted and courageous, Yolande never loses hope she will find her children alive.

‘Reading Yolande Mukagasana’s book in French at the age of fifteen changed my life. I realized that genocide is not a mass crime but a single murder repeated hundreds of thousands of times. With this testimony the genocide is no longer just a historical event, it is instead the story of a woman, a mother, a Tutsi. And this is what makes Yolande’s account universal.’ Gaël Faye


About Yolande Mukagasana

Yolande Mukagasana is a renowned Rwandan writer, public figure and campaigner for the remembrance of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. She has authored four books about genocide and its aftermath, performed her testimony in the iconic Rwanda 94 touring theatre production and has received numerous international prizes for her work, including the Alexander Langer Foundation Prize for Testimony and Solidarity, the American Jewish Committee Moral Courage Award and an Honourable Mention for the UNESCO Education for Peace Prize. Her first book, La mort ne veut pas de moi, has been translated into Italian, Turkish, Norwegian, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew and now English. The book is available from


About Zoe Norridge 

Zoe Norridge is the translator of Not My Time to Die and a Senior Lecturer in African and Comparative Literature at King’s College London. She researches cultural responses to the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, collaborates with Rwandan artists and genocide educators, appears on radio discussing the arts in Rwanda and is Chair of the Ishami Foundation.


About Kristen Stern

Kristen Stern is Assistant Professor in Francophone Studies at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She is at work on a book on contemporary francophone writers from the African continent and the performance of authorship. She regularly presents and publishes on contemporary African literature in French, performance studies, and the sociology of the author. She received her Ph.D. from Boston University.


About Huza Press

Huza Press is an independent publishing house based in Kigali committed to the production and dissemination of knowledge through literature in Africa. We publish poetry, fiction and non-fiction, as well as working to support Rwandan writers through workshops and literary prizes. We are committed to building a sustainable list of the best contemporary African writing, and working to make this widely available in East Africa, across the continent and beyond. Huza Press is passionate about not only publishing and distributing books but also about starting conversations around African literature, building publishing infrastructures and reading communities.


This event is part of the African Literary Production: Networks & Exchanges series which is being launched through Exeter’s UNESCO City of Literature Programme.


Authors.Cafe and Huza Press’s new collaborative literary programme is part funded by British Council Literature’s Working Internationally grant programme.


Abulrazak Gurnah - Afterlives

We are delighted to announce the third in a series of creative writing workshops that is part of the Africa Writes — Exeter Book Club which explore language, history and craft. The series is being launched through Exeter’s UNESCO City of Literature Programme.

Presented in partnership with Saseni!, Authors.Cafe, Jalada Africa, Festival of Ideas, Libraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter.


Africa Writes – Exeter Book Club – Crafts Workshop

Poetry Workshop: Fragments of Self

Led by: Sawti’s Amaal Said

Date: Saturday 27 March

Time: 1pm — 3pm (Nairobi), 10am —12pm (Exeter)


RSVP HERE before Thursday, March 25th to secure your slot RSVP link


SAWTI facilitator Amaal Said will lead a 2-hour poetry workshop titled ‘Afterlives: Fragments of Self’ based on an excerpt of Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives concerned with the tracing of lineage across borders.  


The workshop will explore what not having a ‘complete story’ means for us in our lives, and how we can fill in some of those gaps using poetry. Participants will consider an excerpt from Afterlives as well as the works of poets Fady Joudah, Safia Elhillo and the photography of Tanzanian photographer Hellen Gaudance. 


About Amaal Said

Amaal Said is a Danish-born Somali photographer and poet, based in London. Her photographs have been featured in Vogue, The Guardian and The New York Times. She is concerned with storytelling and how best she can connect with people to document their stories. She won Wasafiri Magazine’s New Writing Prize for poetry in 2015. She is a member of Octavia, poetry collective for womxn of colour, and is a former Barbican Young Poet.

Kindly confirm your attendance to receive pre-workshop materials RSVP link  


We also have a live interview and Q&A with Abdulrazak Gurnah! 


Africa Writes – Exeter Book Club Presents: Abdulrazak Gurnah’s Afterlives

Date: Tuesday 30 March

Time: 16:00 – 17:00 (GMT)

Location: Crowdcast

Tickets: FREE (suggested donations: £2 / £5 / £10)  via Eventbrite Register Here 


With Abdulrazak Gurnah and Novuyo Rosa Tshuma.


“To read Afterlives is to be returned to the joy of storytelling.” – Aminatta Forna 


Taking up where his 1994 Booker finalist novel Paradise left off, Abdulrazak Gurnah transports his readers back to the First World War in his latest novel Afterlives. This coming-of-age novel follows the unanchored adolescent lives of Ilyas, Hamza and Afiya disrupted by the war in the early twentieth century, and interrogates the personal and political cost of rebellion.


Ilyas is stolen by the askari, a Swahili and Arabic name for the German colonial troops, Schutzruppe. Years later he returns home orphaned and his sister, Afiya, given away. Hamza is not stolen, but was sold and comes of age in the army. Ilyas and Hamza’s experience in the askari during the war form the nexus of Afterlives. Meanwhile a quiet and resilient romance buds between Hamza and Afiya.


Praised by Giles Foden as ‘one of Africa’s greatest living writers’, award-winning author Adbulrazak Gurnah will be in conversation with Novuyo Rosa Tshuma to discuss the power and essence of how compelling characters drive a story forward in Afterlives. We welcome you to join us even if you haven’t read the book.


Buy Afterlives HERE


Presented in partnership with Saseni!, Authors.CafeJalada AfricaFestival of IdeasLibraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter.

This event is part of the Africa Writes – Exeter Book Club series which is being launched through Exeter’s UNESCO City of Literature Programme.


Maaza Mengiste - The Shadow King

If you are free Saturday morning, we still have some places for this workshop, that will examine the structure of the Booker Prize nominated story.Maaza Mengiste – The Shadow King, the second in a series of creative writing workshops linked to the Africa To attend please RSVP and then join at 10am on Saturday via the Zoom Link you will be sent by email. You might need to cut and paste the zoom link into your browser. 

Writing Craft Workshop: Narrative Structure

Led by: Jalada’s Ndinda Kioko

Date: Saturday 23 January

Time: 10am —12pm (GMT)

Where: Join Zoom Meeting:



Book Synopsis

Set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record. At its heart is orphan Hirut, who finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. What follows is a heartrending and unputdownable exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

Craft Workshop

Jalada Africa’s Ndinda Kioko will lead this 2-hour session on narrative structure using an excerpt from Maaza Mengiste’s The Shadow King. By making visible the core building blocks of the story such as plot and form, this craft workshop will offer participants a window into how Mengiste expertly steers Hirut and her companions forward. They will examine some of the choices Mengiste makes to knot the events of this novel together, and the effects these choices have on the overall story. Through these conversations writers will be able to explore the different shapes their own stories could take, and the motions that could run through these stories’ tunnels.

Don’t forget that you can join us to see Maaza live in conversation with Ndinda on Tuesday 26 January at 4pm  5pm (GMT)

 Register Here and check your Eventbrite for the link.


About The Authors

Maaza Mengiste was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A Fulbright Scholar and professor in the MFA in Creative Writing & Literary Translation programme at Queens College, she is the author of The Shadow King, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the HWA Gold Crown, and Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, named one of the Guardian’s Ten Best Contemporary African Books. Her work can be found in the New Yorker, Granta and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in New York City.


Ndinda Kioko is a founding member of Jalada Africa. She is also a writer and filmmaker with an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Oregon. Her work has appeared on several platforms and in publications including The Black Warrior Review, The Trans-African, BBC Radio 4, Wasafiri Magazine, and Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara. She is a winner of the Miles Morland Writing Scholarship, the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, and the Black Warrior Review Fiction Prize. Ndinda has also received support from the Blue Mountain Center and the MacDowell Colony. From 2018-2019, she was an Olive B. O’Connor Fiction Fellow at Colgate University. Ndinda is currently a visiting assistant professor at Colgate University and is working on her first novel.

Buy The Shadow King HERE

Presented in partnership with Saseni!, Authors.CafeJalada AfricaFestival of IdeasLibraries Unlimited and the University of Exeter.

This event is part of the Africa Writes – Exeter Book Club series which is being launched through Exeter’s UNESCO City of Literature Programme.

Jennifer Makumbi - The First Woman

Sat Nov 21st & Tues Nov 24th

Authors.Cafe is delighted to announce the first in a series of creative writing workshops linked to the Africa Writes — Exeter Book Club and which explore language, history and craft. 


We have free places for writers from Devon to join writers from East Africa in an online workshop, about how to choose a point of view as an author.


Writing Craft Workshop: Locating Point of View

Led by Saseni!’s Billy Kahora

Date: Saturday 21 November

Time: 1pm — 3pm (Nairobi), 10am —12pm (UK)

Where: Join our mailing list Authors.Cafe for details

Workshop participants are encouraged to attend and ask question to Jennifer Makumbi via a live event on:

Date: Tuesday 24 November

Time: 4pm – 5pm  (UK) 

Where: Crowdcast – Register Here 

Interview: Jennifer Makumbi & Billy Kahora


Saturday 21 November Workshop

This 2-hour creative writing workshop with Billy Kahora explores point of view and narrative voice, building out of dialogue with Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s novel The First Woman.  

Point of view (POV) is an integral tool in writing craft and the lens through which all stories are located. 

In The First Woman, Makumbi reworks histories, folklore and genres, deconstructing critical moments in Uganda’s past and exploring myth-making’s relationship to voice, through the perspective of a young woman Kirabo who is navigating a changing world.

In this workshop you will delve deep into the multiple decisions and techniques at stake for locating and positioning your writing — and the implications of this for relationships with characters, setting and readers.  


Workshop Preparation

Ahead of the workshop, participants are also asked to read:

this extract from Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s The First Woman  

this interview with Makumbi talking about the novel’s engagement with myth, feminism and ideas of home

Zadie Smith’s essay Fascinated to Presume: In Defense of Fiction’ 

an excerpt from Christopher Castellani’s, ‘The Art of Perspective’ (available on joining).

Please bring to the workshop a 500-word excerpt from any fiction you’ve written illustrating the use of POV. Be prepared to share this with the rest of the workshop!We will also share guiding questions for our workshop discussion.  


Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s The First Woman

‘Jennifer Makumbi is a genius storyteller.’ – Reni Eddo-Lodge

For one young girl, discovering what it means to become a woman in a family, a community and a country determined to silence her will take all the courage she has.

Growing up in a small Ugandan village, Kirabo is surrounded by powerful women. Her grandmother, her aunts, her friends and cousins are all desperate for her to conform, but Kirabo is inquisitive, headstrong and determined. Up until now, she has been perfectly content with her life at the heart of this prosperous extended family, but as she enters her teenage years, she begins to feel the absence of the mother she has never known. The First Woman follows Kirabo on her journey to becoming a young woman and finding her place in the world, as her country is transformed by the bloody dictatorship of Idi Amin.


Buy The First Woman HERE

About Billy Kahora 

Billy Kahora is the author of the short story collection The Cape Cod Bicycle War and the non-fiction novella The True Story of David Munyakei. He wrote the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life which won the Kalasha awards.  He worked for nearly a decade for Kenya’s leading literary publisher Kwani Trust, editing seven issues of the Kwani? journal. He currently teaches creative writing at the University of Bristol. He is the founder of Saseni! — a new African creative writing teaching initiative that connects higher and vocational education and the creative arts on the African continent.

To join Saturday’s workshop join our mailing list Authors.Cafe