Curator of the African Book Festival 2022

©Kgomotso Neto

The Johannesburg-based writer, filmmaker and photographer Lidudumalingani is the new curator of the African Book Festival in Berlin. Taking place from 26-28th August 2022, the event will once more bring together the stars of contemporary African literature in the German capital. In 2016, winning the Caine Prize for African Writing propelled him to literary stardom. Shortly after he was awarded the Miles Morland Scholarship for his debut novel Let Your Children Name Themselves, cementing his fame.

His short stories and essays have been published in various anthologies, his photographs exhibited in galleries. He regularly writes for the Johannesburg Review of Books and is currently working on his first novel, a non-fiction book and a feature film.

No other African country has made headlines as often during the Covid-19 pandemic as South Africa. In an attempt to counter the questionable narratives of the so-called continent in crisis, the African Book Festival will focus on South African literature and culture next year.

Titled Yesterday.Today.Tomorrow, the programme curated by Lidudumalingani will include readings, concerts, panel discussions, poetry and comedy. The theme of the 2022 edition explores the connections between writers – the way older writers hold the hand of the young writers when they write, and how, in turn, they too hold the hand of the writers coming after them.

Watch Lidudumalingani in conversation with  InterKontinental Literature Ambassador Alexandra Antwi-Boasiako about his vision for the festival, his work and of course, literature made in South Africa on YouTube.

Lidudumalingani on the African Book Festival 2022

Writing is a solitary pursuit but no writer sits alone at their desk and writes. In that moment, the writer is multiple, of everything they are, of everything they have read, of everything they’ve seen. Others think of writers as conduits, but the role of the writer is more than that, the writer partakes in the process of writing, of communicating with the other forces that hold up their hand. It is not the writer alone holding their hand in place, making it dance across the page, forming the sentences. Every writer’s hand is held by another writer. No writer writes alone.

Yesterday.Today.Tomorrow, the theme for the 2022 edition of the African Book Festival Berlin explores the connections between writers, the way older writers hold the hand of the young writers when they write, and how in turn, they too hold the hand of the writers coming after them. To extend on this theme, on the concept of writing not being a solitary pursuit, the festival explores the historical landscapes that births writers, the turmoil from which the beautiful literature stems from, and the future worlds that writers are conjuring up.

Margaret Busby

Margaret Busby CBE, is a major cultural figure in Britain and around the world.

She was born in Ghana and educated in the UK, graduating from London University. She became Britain’s youngest and first black woman publisher when she co-founded Allison & Busby in the late 1960s and published notable authors including Buchi Emecheta, Nuruddin Farah, Rosa Guy, C. L. R. James, Michael Moorcock and Jill Murphy.

A writer, editor, broadcaster and literary critic, she has also written drama for BBC radio and the stage. Her radio abridgements and dramatisations encompass work by Henry Louis Gates, Timothy Mo, Walter Mosley, Jean Rhys, Sam Selvon and Wole Soyinka. She has interviewed high-profile writers (among them Toni Morrison and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o), judged prestigious literary prizes, including the Booker Prize, and served on the boards of such organisations as the Royal Literary Fund, Wasafiri magazine, Tomorrow’s Warriors, and the Africa Centre in London.

A long-time campaigner for diversity in publishing, she is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and recipient of several honorary doctorates and awards, including the Bocas Henry Swanzy Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s Benson Medal, the Royal African Society’s inaugural Africa Writes Lifetime Achievement Award and the London Book Fair Lifetime Achievement Award.

Margaret Busby is the editor of the groundbreaking international anthologies of women writers of African descent Daughters of Africa (1992)and New Daughters of Africa (2019), each compiling writing by more than 200 Black women across genre, geography and generation from antiquity to today. Listen to the New Daughters of Africa Podcast with host Panashe Chigumadzi based on the anthology wherever you listen to podcasts.

©Sharon Wallace Photography