PEN Centres from Sub-Saharan Africa gather in Johannesburg, South Africa for a week of training, discussion and literary events
This week, as part of an initiative sponsored by the Commonwealth Foundation and the Finnish International Development Agency, eight PEN Centres from Sub-Saharan Africa will gather in South Africa to take part in training and knowledge-sharing workshops and advocacy planning with a focus on Freedom of Expression, Linguistic Rights, and Education.
The week-long meeting – hosted by PEN International in conjunction with South African PEN and the University of Witwatersrand – will include training sessions and presentations from partner organisations such as Civicus, the Arterial Network and Nali’bali.
Free the Word!
In addition to the training sessions, PEN International, South African PEN and the University of Wits Journalism Programme will be holding a Free the Word! event of readings and debates in Johannesburg’s celebrated jazz venue The Orbit.
The panel will consist of Beatrice Lamwaka, Ugandan poet and short story writer, Mandla Langa South African poet, short story writer, and novelist, Makhosazana Xaba, South African poet and short story writer and the 2013 PEN International/ New Voices Award winner Masande Ntshanga. The authors will be reading extracts from their latest novels and poetry collections and discussing their work with Michele Magwood, the Contributing Books Editor for the Sunday Times.
The authors will examine the role of contemporary novelists in bearing witness to social change in Africa and the tensions between the pressure to act as social commentators and their own creative expression.