Uganda International Writers Conference: 2nd edition. 1-6 March 2015

Some events are free and open to the public, others are strictly by invitation. Scroll down to see…


Theme: Memoir and Truth

Dates: 1st – 6th March 2015

Place: Fairway Hotel, Kampala, Uganda

Date: Sunday 1 March 2015

Activity: Cultural Performance (registration required)

Time: 5.30 -8.30 pm

Venue: Ndere Troupe Cultural Centre, Ntinda

Persons in charge: Carole and Diana

Date: Monday 2 March 2015 (Invitation only) 

Time: 8.30 – 9am

Activity: Registration

Venue: Fairway Hotel

Persons in charge: Carole and Diana

 Time: 9 – 10.30am

Topic: Presentations from Successful Literary Initiatives in Africa

  • Timwa Lipenga (Malawi) Malawi Women Writers
  • Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire (Uganda) Writivism
  • Sahro Ahmed (Somalia) Putland Women Writers Association
  • Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva (Uganda) Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation

Chair: Mildred Barya (Uganda/USA)

 Time: 10.30 -11am: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

Time: 11am -12.30pm

Topic: Presentations from Successful Literary Initiatives in Africa (continued)

  1. Hilda Twongyeirwe (Uganda) FEMRITE- Uganda Women Writers Association
  2. Louise Umutoni (Rwanda) Andika Ma
  3. Susan Nde Kwentie (Cameroon) Langaa Publishers
  4. Peter Kagayi (Uganda) Lantern Meet of Poets
  5. Shadreck Chikoti (Malawi) Pan African Publishing

Chair: Mildred Barya (Uganda/USA)

 Time: 12.30- 2pm: LUNCH BREAK

Time: 5.30 – 7 pm (free event)

Activity: FEMRITE Readers/Writers Club (Free/Open to the public)

Venue: Kamwokya, FEMRITE Offices

Date: Tuesday 3 March 2015 (Invitation only)

Time: 9 – 10.30am

Topic: African Literary Renaissance: Return to Glory or Superficial Gloss?

In the years following independence, many African writers were writing and publishing high quality literature which has to date withstood the test of time, including Chinua Achebe, Okot p’Bitek, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nuruddin Farah, Ama Ata Aidoo, Flora Nwapa, to mention but a few. Their writings launched Africa’s literature on the international literary map. Similarly, the last two decades have witnessed a literary renaissance, with new voices of contemporary African writers earning global attention for their works. These include NoViolet Bulawayo, Chimamanda Adichie, Teju Cole, and many others.  These new voices have heralded in a new era of literary optimism, which many regard as the return to the golden days. But is this impression the sound reality?

Provocateur: Dr Susan Kiguli (Uganda)

Chair: Dr Danson Kahyana (Uganda)

Time: 10.30 -11am: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

Time: 11– 12.30am

Topic: Space and identity in African writing: Writing Beyond the West

African writes in the Diaspora often have to navigate two challenges: the epistemological space in which they operate and the identity they hold; both of which are often in question. Is it possible for African writers in the Diaspora to represent an ‘authentic’ African identity? Or is their connection to Africa merely imagined? How much of their writing should be considered African? How do these writers fulfil the demands by their western publishers and markets, and at the same time cater for their African audiences?

Four African writers living and working in the Diaspora will explore these intriguing questions.


  1. Jennifer Makumbi (Uganda/ UK)
  2. Noo Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria/UK)
  3. Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria/ USA)
  4. Julianne Okot Bitek (Uganda/Cananda)

Chair: Goretti Kyomuhendo (Uganda/UK)

Time: 12.30- 2pm: LUNCH BREAK

Time: 4.30 – 7.30pm

Event: Keynote Speech by Prof. Zakes Mda followed by snacks and canapés reception

Topic: Memoir as Remembered Narrative

Venue: Fairway Hotel Gardens

Date: Wednesday, 4 March 2015 (Invitation only)

Time: 9 – 10.30am

Topic: The Rise of Digital Literature and Publishing: Re-examining the Book Business in the 21st Century          


  1. Dilman Dila (Uganda) Lawino Literary Magazine
  2. Melissa Kyeyune ( Uganda) KHAMEL Publishers

Chair: Jackee Budesta Batanda (Uganda)

Time: 10.30 -11am: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

Time: 11am -12.30pm

Topic: Life Writing


  1. Noo Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria/UK) on writing Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria (Granta, 2012).
  2. Hilda Twongyeirwe (Uganda) on Mediating Rural Women’s Narratives

Chair: Timwa Lipenga (Malawi)

Time: 12.30- 2pm: LUNCH BREAK

Time: 4 – 6pm

Venue: African Centre for Media Excellence

Topic: The Shift from Journalism to Nonfiction: Challenges for African writers

Fiction currently dominates the world of African publishing, with non-fiction lagging far behind. Many non-fiction writers start their careers as journalists. To what extent is the relative rarity of non-fiction the result of existing weaknesses in the African media? What other factors – commercial, political, legal and historical – lie behind the disparity? Does a spate of new African biographies, memoirs and modern histories suggest the trend is now correcting itself? What steps can be taken to encourage future non-fiction writing in Africa?


  1. Michela Wrong (UK)
  2. Daniel Kalinaki (Uganda)

Chair: TBA

Date: Thursday, 5 March 2015 (Invitation only)

Time: 9 – 10.30am

Topic: Literary Prizes and Contests for African writers: Focus on: The Etisalat Prize for Literature and The Africa39 Project

The emergence of literary prizes and writing contests for African writers in the past decade has boosted the creative energies of writers and propelled the winners to international stardom. The winning books are guaranteed high sales, and the financial benefits for the writer is assured. Is this true for all the winning writers?


Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria/USA)

Jackee Budesta Batanda (Uganda)

Glaydah Namukasa (Uganda)

Songeziwe Mahlangu (South Africa)

Emma D’Costa (Commonwealth Writers, UK)

Chair: Julianne Okot Bitek (Uganda/Canada)

Time: 10.30 -11am: TEA/COFFEE BREAK

Time: 11am – 12.30pm

Topic: The MFA Experience: What Writers Can Learn.

Provocateur: Prof. Zakes Mda (South Africa/USA)

Chair: Dr Charles Mulekwa (Uganda)

Time: 12.30- 2pm: LUNCH BREAK

Time: 6-8pm (free event)

Activity: Literary Evening of Public Readings and Poetry Recitals (Free/Open to the public)

Venue: Kati Kati Africa

Hosted by: Mildred Barya

Date: Friday, 6 March 2015 




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