Western media reports that ‘Africa is Rising’ and a new middle class is emerging on the continent to transform political and economic systems. More sober stories from Mali, Northern Nigeria and Kenya reinforce earlier gloomy impressions and claim that Africa is not rising for all. Both optimistic and pessimistic accounts remain stubbornly dominated by outside voices. What do African writers and thinkers really think about the future?
Leye Adenle (@LeyeAdenle) is an actor and writer. He has written a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces, including The Assassination. His forthcoming novel, The Easy Motion Tourist, will be published by Cassava Republic. He has appeared on stage in London in plays including Ola Rotimi’s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again. He also featured in an episode of the African sitcom, Meet the Adebanjos. Leye comes from a family of writers most famous of whom was his grandfather, Oba Adeleye Adenle I, a former king of Oshogbo in South Western Nigeria.
Jennifer Makumbi’s first novel, Kintu won the Kwani Manuscript Prize in 2013. She is a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster, where she also completed a PhD in Creative Writing. She was awarded the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014 for her short story, Let's Tell This Story Properly. Jennifer was born and grew up in Kampala Uganda.
Chibundu Onuzo (@ChibunduOnuzo) was born in Nigeria in 1991 and is the youngest of four children. She is currently studying History at Kings College, London. Her first novel, The Spider King's Daughter, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. When not writing, Chibundu can be found playing the piano or singing.
Rebecca Jones is a Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham as well as one of the Editors of Africa in Words, a blog which focuses on cultural production and Africa. In 2014 she was awarded a PhD for her thesis on Nigerian travel writing in Yoruba and English.
Africa Talks is a programme of high-profile events that creates a platform for African voices to inform and transform the global debate.
This event forms part of the LSE Space for Thought Literary Festival 2016, taking place from Monday 22 - Saturday 27 February 2016, with the theme 'Utopias'.
Suggested hashtag for this event for Twitter users: #LSELitFest
A podcast of this event is available to download from Imagining African Futures
Podcasts and videos of many LSE events can be found at the LSE Public Lectures and Events: podcasts and videos channel.