Tour of Duty: How to Write About Africa

TUE, FEB 28, 2006 (46:04)

Michael Vazquez of Transition Magazine hosts an evening with the next generation of African and African American writers. Cosponsored by Transition Magazine, Granta and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

+ BIO: Michael Vazquez

Michael Vazquez, former editor of Transition magazine, is a writer and consultant based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is a fellow at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research.

+ BIO: Brent Edwards

Professor Edwards is the author of The Practice of Diaspora: Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism (Harvard University Press, 2003), which won the Gilbert Chinard Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies. With Robert G. O’Meally and Farah Jasmine Griffin, he co-edited the collection Uptown Conversation: The New Jazz Studies (Columbia University Press, 2004). He has published essays and articles in a wide variety of journals and magazines on topics including African American literature, Francophone literature, theories of the African diaspora, black radical intellectuals, cultural politics in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s, surrealism, 20th-century poetics, and jazz. The co-editor of the journal Social Text, Professor Edwards also serves on the editorial boards of Transition and Callaloo. He is a Permanent Fellow at the university’s Center for Cultural Analysis and sits on the supervisory board of The English Institute at Harvard University. Between 2005 and 2006, Professor Edwards was awarded a fellowship to pursue research at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at The New York Public Library.

+ BIO: Binyavanga Wainaina

Binyavanga Wainaina (born 1971) is a Kenyan author, journalist and winner of the Caine Prize. He attended Moi Primary School in Nakuru, Mangu High School in Thika, and Lenana School in Nairobi. He later studied commerce at the University of Transkei in South Africa, after which he worked in Cape Town for some years as a freelance food and travel writer. In July 2002 he won the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story “Discovering Home”. He is the founding editor of Kwani?, the first literary magazine in East Africa since Transition Magazine. Since its founding, Kwani? has since become an important source of new writing from Africa; with several writers having been nominated for, and having won, the Caine Prize subsequently. In 2003, he was given an award by the Kenya Publisher’s Association, in recognition of his services to Kenyan Literature. He has written for The EastAfrican, National Geographic, The Sunday Times (South Africa), Granta, the New York Times and The Guardian (UK). In January 2007, Binyavanga Wainaina was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a “Young Global Leader” - an award given to people for “their potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world.” He subsequently declined the award.

Harvard Du Bois Institute
African American Culture Series
African Culture Series