In 2017 the Edinburgh International Book Festival supported ten writers to travel on journeys across the Americas. This was Outriders – an ambitious exploration of the idea that in shifting, disorienting times, a writer can make a unique contribution to our understanding of the world, giving voice to untold stories and providing new insights on contemporary geopolitical contexts.
Outriders will again see ten writers explore a region of the world – this time in Africa. Each pair of writers will embark on an international journey through Africa, meeting writers and communities along their way and engaging in discussions around migration, colonial legacies, inequalities and the impact of globalisation and environmental change. Each of the ten Outriders will create a new work in response to their journey which will be presented at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2020.
Meet our Outriders: their journeys start in 2020 and you'll able to find all details of their travels here from January, including filmed interviews with the authors.
Amanda Thomson is a visual artist and writer from Scotland who teaches at the Glasgow School of Art. Her interdisciplinary work is often about notions of home, movements, migrations, landscapes and the natural world and how places come to be made. She lives and works in Glasgow and in Strathspey, and feels an inexorable pull to the north. Her first book, A Scots Dictionary of Nature is published by Saraband Books.
Donna Obaseki-Ogunnaike is an Energy Law expert, poet, writer and theatre practitioner, ranked as the 'queen of spoken word poetry in Nigeria' through the years 2012 to 2016. Her theatrical productions Love Like Slave and Strelitzia…An Experiential Journey To Self (an experimental walk through installation) were hosted by the British Council and Lagos Theatre Festival in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Strelitzia was also the only theatre production from Nigeria chosen to be performed at the World Cultures Festival, Hong Kong in November 2017 where all four shows were successfully sold out. She has two audio albums, Water For Roses and Cessy’s Daughter, which have been well received internationally. Her poetry shows have been hosted by various establishments including the Edinburgh International Book Festival and BBC Art Talk on the Hour.
Eliza Anyangwe is a writer, managing editor of new digital publisher The Correspondent, and the founder of The Nzinga Effect, a media project focused on telling the stories of African and Afro-descendant women. She was born in Cameroon, raised in several countries across Africa, and after 11 years in London, moved in June 2019 to Amsterdam.
Eliza began her career working for non-governmental organisations Action Against Hunger and the Pesticide Action Network, but has spent the past decade in media working for the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, narrative change organisation the Rules, the Guardian and CNN Africa. For Guardian Opinion, she commissioned, and wrote for, the ‘Week in Africa’ series which was longlisted for a One World Media award. As a freelancer, Eliza has written for the Independent, the FT, Al Jazeera and Open Democracy, and has appeared on Newsnight, BBC World Service, and PRI’s The World, among others.
She has spoken at a range of Africa-, media-, and international development-themed events including SXSW, D&AD Festival, the Google News Initiative Summit, the International Journalism Festival, Africa Utopia, The Web We Want Festival and the Next Einstein Forum. In 2016 she was a contributing author to Africa’s Media Image in the 21st Century, published by Routledge.
Emmanuel Iduma is the author of A Stranger’s Pose, a book of travel stories, which was longlisted for the 2019 Ondaatje Prize, and The Sound of Things to Come, a novel. His stories and essays have been published widely, including in the Millions, LitHub, Aperture, British Journal of Photography, Art in America, Guernica, and the New York Review of Books. He was awarded an arts writing grant from the Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation for his essays on Nigerian artists. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts, New York, and divides his time between Lagos and New York City.
Kayus Bankole is a founding member and key creative force within the musical group, Young Fathers. The band have attracted critical praise the world over - winning the Scottish Album of the Year prize twice, the Mercury Prize and myriad other esteemed accolades. Comrades and collaborators of Massive Attack, Young Fathers have been heralded for their genre defying, uncompromising music and visceral, unforgettable, coruscating, live performances. Orbiting around the band, Kayus has deftly turned his hand to spoken word, exhibition curation, cultural conversations, contemporary dance and realms beyond.
Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He writes across a range of genres: novels, books of short stories, essays and poetry. He has won the Forward Prize for Best Collection (2014) and has been shortlisted for the Costa Book Award for Poetry, the Dylan Thomas Prize, and the Jonathan Llewelyn Rhys Prize. Kei has an MA in Creative Writing from Manchester Metropolitan University and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Glasgow.
Nadine Aisha Jassat
Nadine Aisha Jassat is a writer and creative practitioner. Her poetry, narrative non-fiction and short stories have been published widely, including in It’s Not About the Burqa (Picador) and 404 Ink’s highly-praised Nasty Women. Her work has drawn acclaim: in 2018, she received a Scottish Book Trust New Writers’ Award for Fiction, won the British Council’s UK Open Call for the Discover project, and was shortlisted for the Outspoken London Prize for Poetry in Film with ‘Hopscotch’, and the prestigious Edwin Morgan Poetry Award. In 2017, she was named one of 30 Inspiring Young Women Under 30 in Scotland by YWCA Scotland. Her debut poetry collection, Let Me Tell You This (404 Ink, 2019) was described by Scotland’s Makar Jackie Kay as a ‘punchy, powerful debut’, with readers advised by Sabeena Akhtar: ‘if you read one poetry collection this year, let it be this.’
Sabrina Mahfouz has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is the recipient of the 2018 King's Alumni Arts & Culture Award. She has won a Sky Arts Academy Award for Poetry, a Westminster Prize for New Playwrights and a Fringe First Award for her play Chef. Her play With a Little Bit of Luck won the 2019 Best Drama Production at the BBC Radio & Music Awards. She also writes for children and her play Zeraffa Giraffa won a 2018 Off West End Award.
Sabrina is the editor of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, a 2017 Guardian Book of the Year and the forthcoming Smashing It: Working Class Artists on Life, Art and Making It Happen. She's an essay contributor to the multi-award-winning The Good Immigrant and is currently writing a biopic of the rapper and producer Wiley, for Pulse Films.
Tsitsi Dangarembga was born in Mutoko, Zimbabwe. Her first novel Nervous Conditions (1988) was hailed by Doris Lessing as one of the most important novels of the twentieth century and was included in the BBC's 2018 list of the 100 books that shaped the world. The Book of Not (2006) and This Mournable Body (2018) complete the Tambudzai Trilogy. Dangarembga founded the Institute of Creative Arts for Progress in Africa (ICAPA) in 2009, and its publishing division in 2014. She is writing Sai-Sai and the Great Ancestor Of Fire, a dystopic speculative young adult fiction. Her plays were performed at the University of Zimbabwe. Her short musical Kare Kare Zvako (Mother's Day, 2005) was screened at Sundance. She runs capacity building programmes for African women filmmakers, in addition to fundraising for her productions. Her films and prose have received many awards.
Wanjiru Koinange is a Kenyan writer, born and raised on a farm on the outskirts of Nairobi with her four siblings. Her articles and essays have been published in print and online platforms, including Chimurenga and Commonwealth Writers. She holds a degree in Journalism and Literature from Nairobi’s United States International University (USIU) and a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, the product of which is her debut novel, The Havoc of Choice (2019). When she isn’t writing, Wanjiru is restoring Nairobi’s iconic public libraries through Book Bunk—a social impact firm working to convert neglected public libraries into inclusive spaces of art, learning and community. In addition, through the Africa Centre in Cape Town, Wanjiru works to explore and support socially engaged art.
Okwiri Odour was originally announced as one of our Outriders, however due to unforeseen circumstances she can no longer take part and will be replaced by Wanjiru Koinange.