Warsan Shire heads to Africa Writes festival

Poet and activist Warsan Shire grew up in London. She is the author of the collections Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye, 2011), Her Blue Body (flipped eye, 2015), and Our Men Do Not Belong to Us (Slapering Hol Press and Poetry Foundation, 2015). Her poems have appeared in journals and magazines, including Poetry Review, Wasafiri, and Sable LitMag; in the anthologies Salt Book of Younger Poets (2011), Long Journeys: African Migrants on the Road (2013), and Poems That Make Grown Women Cry (2016); as well as in Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade (2016).

IN HER first UK public appearance since her poetry reached millions of people in Beyonce’s visual album Lemonade, poet Warsan Shire will headline Africa Writes festival.

Taking place in London on June 29 to July 1, the UK’s biggest annual African literature festival will be held at The British Library and Rich Mix London.

Ahead of the publication of a new collection, Shire will close the festival on July 1 in conversation about her work, process and inspiration, as well as discussing living and working in LA, and her new projects that explore the intersections of art and healing.

Shire was awarded the inaugural Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2013, and in 2014 was selected as Poet in Residence for Queensland, Australia, and appointed as the first Young Poet Laureate for London. She is the first person under 30 to headline Africa Writes festival.

Fellow poets Yomi Sode and Octavia Poetry Collective will perform at the Friday and Saturday headline events of the festival, which brings together over 50 of the most influ- ential voices in contemporary writing from Africa and its diaspora over an exciting literary weekend exploring themes of migration and identity, and celebrating the poetic form.

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