College of Humanities

UKZN’s Poetry Africa Festival partners with Quay Words (UK)

The Poetry Africa Festival hosted by the College of Humanities has partnered with the Quay Words programme at Exeter Custom House to receive one of the British Council “Working Internationally” grants in 2021. This project is funded by the British Council Literature’s Working Internationally grant programme.

Between March and November, Quay Words and Poetry Africa will jointly host five free online networking, writer development and showcase days, celebrating writing by women in the UK and South Africa.  Each of the five days will include a professional development session for four selected emerging writers, a larger informal networking event, and an early evening reading that pairs a UK-based writer with a South Africa-based writer.

The programme launches on 8 March 2021, International Women’s Day, with a live event featuring South Africa-based Ms Efemia Chela, the Quay Words/English PEN digital writer-in-residence for February 2021 and Ms Louisa Adjoa-Parker, who was the inaugural Quay Words writer-in-residence in July 2019. The project concludes on 25 November 2021.

Director of the Centre for Creative Arts Dr Ismail Mahomed said, ‘Poetry Africa is truly excited about this partnership. It is the largest spoken word poetry festival on the African continent. In 2021, the milestone of our 25th festival coincides with the 25th anniversary of the adoption of South Africa’s democratic constitution. Section 9 of the Constitution guarantees a full range of rights for women, freedom of expression and freedom of creativity.’

CEO of Literature Works Ms Helen Chaloner said, ‘It’s thrilling to be able to pair Quay Words in Exeter with the wonderful work of Poetry Africa in Durban during the year of the 25th festival.  We can put our shared experience of digital delivery to great use, pairing emerging and established writers in the two cities to create dialogue and to ignite inspiration.’


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