Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer based in London. Born in 1988, Shire has read her work extensively in Britain and internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, America, and Kenya. Her debut pamphlet is Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye). Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma, and Poetry Review and in the anthology The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt). In 2012 she represented Somalia at Poetry Parnassus. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Kwame Dawes’ eighteenth collection of verse, Duppy Conqueror (Copper Canyon Press), appeared in 2013. His awards include the Hollis Summers Prize, the Forward Poetry Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pushcart Prizes. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor at the University of Nebraska. He also teaches in the Pacific MFA Program.
Kofi Awoonor is a lecturer in English and African literature at the University of Ghana. He directed the Ghana Film Corporation. He also founded and directed the Ghana Playhouse. Kofi Awooner served as an editor of the literary journal Okyeame and as an associate editor of Transition. He is the author of several volumes of poetry, including Night of My Blood, Ride Me, Memory, The House by the Sea, and The Latin American and Caribbean Notebook. His collected poems (through 1985) were published in Until the Morning After.
Jenny Valentine moved house every two years when she was growing up. She worked in a whole foods shop in Primrose Hill for fifteen years where she met many extraordinary people and sold more organic loaves than there are words in her first novel, Finding Violet Park, which won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2007. She has also worked as a teaching assistant and a jewellery maker. She studied English Literature at Goldsmiths College, which almost put her off reading but not quite.
She has written four titles for teen readers: Finding Violet Park, Broken Soup, The Ant Colony and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight and four books for younger readers in the gorgeous Iggy and Me series.
Finding Violet Park
This is the story of how a sixteen year old boy called Lucas Swain met an old lady called Violet Park. Only their relationship is not an ordinary one… Violet Park was dead and in a box on a shelf. Lucas finds Violet’s ashes at 5 o’clock in the morning on a dark night, in a minicab office and from then on he embarks on a journey of discovery. About who Violet was, who he is, the point he has reached in his life and what needs to happen next. The Guardian Review
Someone shoves a photo negative into Rowan’s hands. She is distracted but, frankly, she has larger problems to worry about. Her brother is dead. Her father has left. Her mother won’t get out of bed. She has to take care of her younger sister. “And” keep it all together . . . But Rowan is curious about the mysterious boy and the negative. Who is he? Why did he give it to her? The mystery only deepens when the photo is developed and the inconceivable appears. The Guardian Review
The Ant Colony
Number 33 Georgiana Street houses many people and yet seems home to none. To runaway Sam it is a place to disappear. To Bohemia, it’s just another blip between crises, as her mum ricochets off the latest boyfriend. Old Isobel acts like she owns the place, even though it actually belongs to Steve in the basement, who is always looking to squeeze in yet another tenant. Life there is a kind of ordered chaos. Like ants, they scurry about their business, crossing paths, following their own tracks, no questions asked. But it doesn’t take much to upset the balance. The Guardian Review
The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight
A fiery boy named Chap is locked in a room in a hostel, “a stop-off for impossible kids”, when he’s recognised by one of the wardens, who has seen a picture on the internet – a poster of a missing boy. The two are indistinguishable. Should Chap insist on being himself or accept this offer of a new identity? A few phone calls later, Cassiel Roadnight’s sister is on her way to London to pick up her long-lost brother. But Chap quickly discovers the perils of being someone else. Then there’s the worrying question of what might have happened to the real Cassiel Roadnight. The Guardian Review
Kelly is currently writing two story books. Nkwanzi The Raw Jewel is a story about a Rwandese girl who is raised by a Ugandan family after the genocide and rises through many challenges to be an engineer and CEO in Uganda . The second, The Hidden Passion is a story of two lovers – a Kigezi Princess and a Ugandan Indian man – and the challenges they face as a result of their different cultures.
She writes regularly for The Observer.
Follow her on Twitter.
Pamela Orogot is the 2nd Prize Winner of the BN Poetry Award. Pamela was born twenty five years ago in Kampala, Uganda to a large family mainly comprised of women, a reason why humanity and women of all walks are her muse. She is a Lawyer by profession (a graduate from Makerere University Kampala and the Law Development Center) in Uganda, a writer at heart and at a re-known media house in Uganda where she doubles as a Legal adviser.
She cannot recall when she started writing stories, articles or making attempts to rewrite the endings of novels but knows her love for writing poetry started in Secondary school when poetry lessons were first introduced to her and has grown to be one of her major forms of communication on life issues.
In 2005, while in secondary school, she wrote a musical play entitled “Feminia” that revolved around a kingdom where woman and everything female were considered supreme. The play was used in her school for the Senior Year Five production bonanza.
In June 2013, she emerged second in the annual BN Poetry awards in Kampala for her poem ‘A Face like Mine’.
Rashida was born in 1988. She started writing at the age of ten being a girl raised boys. Her playmates were story books which she would rewrite out to suit her own version. At fourteen she started writing poems as a way to comfort her friends who were sad and later would sell some love poems and letters at five hundred shillings to boys who wanted to impress their girlfriends. At fifteen she was the assistant editor of a school magazine ‘The Gazelle’ in Nabisunsa Girls School and later become the cartoonist and wrote for the poetry column in the same magazine.
She has written articles for different newsletters among which include the ‘Inspiring Young Women into Leadership’ yearly newsletter in 2010 and ‘Imagine Uganda’ newsletter in June 2012.
She started performing her poems at seventeen at school functions and has performed on various poetry platforms among which include Poetry in Sessions, Open Mic Uganda, Kwivuga Poetry night.
In 2010-2011 she served as the Deputy speaker of the Islamic University in Uganda and participated in the Inter University Females Public Speaking Competition and emerged among the finalists.
She graduated from University with a Bachelor in Food science and Human Nutrition in March 2013.
She is an actress and dancer and has featured in stage plays among which include Trails of Brother Jero, Twisted by International Health Sciences University and different films among which Ajok, Arggh both Kampala Film School Productions.
She is a life skill coach and mentor in the field of self-discovery and awareness, public speaking and assertiveness and career choice, she is currently working on a project Art 4 Change which will aim at using spoken word as a tool of self-discovery and assertiveness.
Timothy Williams is from London but has lived in the Caribbean for more than thirty years. His first French language novel, Un autre soleil, set in the island of Guadeloupe, was published in Paris by Rivages in March 2011. Translated into English by the author, the novel was published earlier this year as ANOTHER SUN, (Soho Crime, New York, ISBN-10: 1616951567).
For readers interested in the African diaspora on the far side of the Atlantic, in the départements français de l’Amérique (French possessions in the Americas) – and the frequent echoes there of the mother continent – ANOTHER SUN uses the medium of the mystery novel to present an interesting, almost sociological analysis of recent French colonialism and, at the same time, to tell an exciting tale.
The police have arrested Hégésippe Bray, whose feud with Calais dates back more than four decades. Timothy Williams’ Another Sun is a tale of envy and greed and sex envenomed by the inevitable racism of colonial politics.
Guadeloupe’s population is a tapestry of outsiders: descendants of the original French settlers (békés), descendants of the slaves brought from Africa to work the plantations, and descendants of the interbreeding between these two groups.
The French administrators balance the island’s rivalries through the awarding of construction projects. They keep a wary eye on the local independence faction, the Mouvement d’Action des Nationalistes Guadeloupéens (MANG), which has only a small following but is tending toward violence. The Advocate, Baton Rouge, LA
Timothy Williams’ first five books, featuring Commissario Piero Trotti of the Italian police, are to be republished in the US in 2014/15.
Black August won a Crime Writers’ Association award.
In 2011, the London Observer placed him among the ten best modern European crime novelists
Timothy Williams Other Book Titles
Converging Parallels (London: Gollancz, 1982; ISBN 978-0-575-03125-8)
The Puppeteer (London: Gollancz, 1985; ISBN 978-0-575-04753-2)
Persona Non Grata (London: Gollancz, 1987; ISBN 978-0-575-04082-3)
Black August (London: Orion, 1992; ISBN 978-0-575-05307-6)
Big Italy (London: Orion, 1996; ISBN 978-0-575-05929-0)