By Sybil Fekurumoh, Chimezie Chika, and Ijeoma Anastasia Ntada
Edited by Nzube Nlebedim
African literature has become well-appraised, receiving the embrace and recognition it is deserving of, in both the home-based and global literary scenes. Modern African writers across genres have also had beautiful success stories and breakthroughs, as they have proven their worth, and are getting accolades due to their craft.
Traditional platforms such as publishing houses, as well as non-traditional platforms such as online literary magazines also support and showcase the works of young writers, in getting their writings to a larger audience. New prizes, such as the James Currey Prize for Literature, among many others are supporting the creative journey of emerging writers.
In light of these opportunities, the work of young writers transcends personal stories. Their work serve as a tool to search for, and embrace cultural identities, and bring a voice to the social and environmental issues that affect us Africans.
A piece of writing evokes several emotions in readers, and African literary writers continue to surprise both readers and critics with their works. These writers have had a great start in their literary endeavours, and we are keeping our eyes out for more of their exploits in the coming years.
In no particular order, Afrocritik recognises some of the finest emerging writers across Africa, whose works in poetry, literary and speculative fiction, as well as non-fiction and essays, are changing today the narrative for African literature.
NB: This list is far from exhaustive, as young emerging writers continue to perform explorative feats, breaking the boundaries and challenging the status quo of African literature.
Idza Luhumyo is a Kenyan writer born in Mombasa. She was the inaugural winner of the Margaret Busby New Daughters of Africa Award in 2020 which earned her a scholarship to study at the University of London School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS). She also won the Short Story Day Africa Prize in 2021. Luhumyo won the 2022 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story, “Five Years Next Sunday,” becoming the fifth Kenya to do so. “Five Years Next Sunday” was first published in the Short Story Day Africa Disruption anthology and also appears in the AKO Caine Prize anthology, A Mind to Silence and Other Stories.
Her works have been published in several literary magazines such as Popula, Jalada Africa, The Writivism Anthology, Baphash Literary & Arts Quarterly, MaThoko’s Books, Gordon Square Review, Amsterdam’s ZAM Magazine, Short Story Day Africa, the New Internationalist, The Dark, and African Arguments.
Luhumyo’s work explore a wide range of themes in Kenyan identities. Her Caine Prize-winning story was described by the Chief Judge, Okey Ndibe, as “incandescent” and one that used “exquisite language.” It tells an ethereal story of a young woman with magical powers attached to her hair. It is a story that altogether explores blackness and black hair, colonialism, patriarchy, and sexuality. We find a similar exploration in her short story, “How to Swim,” which narrates love, femininity, wealth and class divides, and cultural expectations. One is drawn into the mythical elements of “On Full Moon Nights” in the way that the short story embraces traditional Kenyan superstitious beliefs. Other of her short stories are “A Swahili love in 10 Fragments” and “Nine Pieces of Desire.”
Her essay, “How I Fell In, Out, and Back with the Leso,” discusses the significance of the Kenyan traditional fabric, leso, both as a source of pride and an object of oppression for young Kenya women, as well as its reclamation back to womanhood.
Luhumyo holds a degree in law from the University of Nairobi. She is also a screenwriter of African literature.
Donald Oghenechovwe Ekpeki
Donald Oghenechovwe Ekpeki is a speculative fiction writer and editor of African literature from Nigeria. As one of Nigeria’s leading writers in that genre, Ekpeki has won several awards to his name. In 2019, he won the Nommo Award for best short story for, “The Witching Hour.” In 2020, his novella, Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, won the Otherwise Award for science fiction and fantasy, and, in 2022, his novelette, “O2 Arena” won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette. With this, he became the first African to win the Nebula Awards.
Ekpeki’s works have also been nominated for the British Science Fiction Association Award, Locus Award, Theodore Sturgeon Award, and Hugo Award. He co-edited Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora which won the British Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2021 and has also edited the Bridging Worlds Anthology and The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021). Ekpeki is also the first African to be nominated for the Hugo award for best novelette and best editor categories. He is also the first person of colour to be a Hugo finalist in both fiction and editing categories in the same year.
Ekpeki considers speculative fiction as an imitation of the real world and believes writing is an effective tool for social change. He reflects these in his works. His short story, “The Witching Hour,” plays on Nigerian cultural beliefs of the metaphysical, and his novelette, “O2 Arena,” peers into health conditions such as cancer, while also addressing climate change and global warming. “O2 Arena” has been recommended by the Nerds of a Feather reading list, and is being translated into Bengali, Dutch, Czech, and other languages.
His works have also appeared in Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Uncanny Magazine, Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, NBC, Galaxy’s Edge, and Tordotcom among others.
Other of Ekpeki’s works include the genre-bending short-story fiction, Destiny Delayed, short non-fiction, Too Dystopian for Whom? A Marginalized Nigerian Writer’s Perspective, A Different Kind of “Show, Not Tell,” and “Reprints Are Not Inferior to Original Works & Neither Is the Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Anthology.” He has also edited the long non-fiction anthology, Bridging Worlds – Global Conversations on Creating Pan-African Speculative Literature in a Pandemic, and the original fiction anthology, Africa Risen: A New Era of Speculative Fiction.
Ekpeki is a member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), Horror Writers Association (HWA), and Codex Writers Group. He is also the founder of Jembelofa Press.
Itiola Jones is an African-American/Nigerian queer poet, essayist, and music journalist. She’s also an Editor for 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. She was a guest editor for The Young African Poets Anthology: The Fire That Is Dreamed Of, with Agbowo literary magazine, and inaugural nonfiction guest editor for Lolwe. She was, until August 2022, the Editor-in-Chief for Frontier Poetry. She also founded and facilitates The Singing Bullet workshop.
Her works have appeared in Guernica, Frontier Poetry, Washington Square Review, LA Review of Books, The Rumpus, The Offing, Isele, Transition Magazine, Brooklyn Rail, Poetry ONL, and elsewhere. She has also freelanced for Complex, Revolt TV, NBC News Think, and elsewhere.
Some of Jones’s works centre on feminism and embracing female sexuality. She writes from a female and Black/African perspective. In “A Field, Any Field,” she writes of love, perhaps a toxic relationship, where the narrator is both victim and complicit of. In conversation with Nkatego Masinga of African Dialogue, she says about the poem, “…maybe the poem redraws the lines of lovers as we often hurt our lovers the most.” The poem won the 2018 Second Annual Brittle Paper Award in Poetry.
In, “Vanity,” she writes of discovery, young love, and the exuberance of youth. “Vanity” was chosen as a finalist for the 2020 Sublingua Prize for Poetry. In “Can You Speak Yoruba,” she writes about finding familiarity in a new land and in her mother tongue. In her non-fiction essay, “On the Feminine & the Oracular,” she tries to reconcile the female body and womanhood, away from orthodox theological beliefs that vilify the feminine body, and toward the works of contemporary female poets.
Jones received an MFA in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin – Madison where she was the recipient of the inaugural 20192020 Kemper K. Knapp University Fellowship. She also recently received a 2023 Winter/Spring Residency at HedgeBrook. Her chapbook, Spells of My Name, was also selected for the 2021 Emerging Poets Chapbook Series.
Pemi Aguda is a writer of African literature and architect from Lagos, Nigeria. She is a recipient of the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize for her work, “Caterer, Caterer,” and the 2020 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Awards for her upcoming novel, The Suicide Mothers. “Caterer, Caterer” is a dark, yet, humorous story that evokes the elements of everyday life with superstitions that are peculiar to Nigerian indigenous beliefs such as religion.
She won the 2022 O. Henry Prize for her short story, Breastmilk, which will be included in the forthcoming O.Henry Prize Winners anthology, The Best Short Stories 2022. She won the 2022 Nommo Awards for Short Story for “Masquerade Season,” a speculative fiction short story about a young boy who came to own three masquerades. Cultural elements are also present in this story, as it addresses exploitation, perhaps to mirror the exploitation of the earth’s natural resources. In “The Hollow,” Aguda’s architectural proficiency is present, as she gives a voice to domestic violence in the story.
Her works have been published in Granta, Zoetrope: All-Story, Omenana Magazine,Tor.com, The Kalahari Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, The Wrong Quarterly, Prufrock Magazine, American Short Fiction, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. Her works have also appeared in The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction Volume One anthology for “Things Boys Do,” in Lagos Noir for “Choir Boy,” and in These Words Expose Us published by The Naked Convos for “The Thing with Mr. Lawal.”
She’s also won a Henfield Prize, a Tyson Prize for Fiction, and Hopwood Awards (for Novel, Short Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Drama). Aguda has an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She received a work-study scholarship from Bread Loaf Writers Conference in 2018, an Octavia Butler Memorial Scholarship from the Carl Brandon Society to attend the Clarion Workshop in 2019, as well as a 2019 Juniper Summer Workshop scholarship. She was a 2020 Aspen Words Emerging Writer Fellow. She is a 2021 Fiction Fellow with the Miami Book Fair, and a 2022 MacDowell fellow.
Rasaq Malik Gbolahan
Rasaq Malik Gbolahan is a African Nigerian poet and essayist of African literature. He is the co-founder of Àtẹ́lẹwọ́, a literary platform dedicated to publishing works in the Yoruba language. He is also the founding Editor-in-Chief of Agbowó. In 2015, he won Honorable Mention for Best of the Net, for his poem, “Elegy.” His poems, “How My Mother Spends Her Nights,” and “What My Children Remember” have been nominated by Rattle for the Pushcart Prize in 2016 and 2019. He was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2017. He was a finalist for Sillerman First Book for African Poets in 2018.
His poems have appeared in African American Review, Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, LitHub, Michigan Quarterly Review, Minnesota Review, New Orleans Review, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Rattle, Verse Daily, and elsewhere.
Gbolahan’s African literature writing leans into dirges and elegies, where he is able to address various subjects of the human condition. In “How My Mother Spends Her Night,” he explores marriage and infidelity. He has published two chapbooks, No Home in This Land, which was selected for Chapbook Box, edited by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani, and The Other Names of Grief. In No Home in This Land, Gbolahan writes of the aftermath of war, political unrest, and migration in Nigeria. A similar theme is present in “What My Children Remember.”
The Other Names of Grief is a collection that gapes at the griefs of the era and calls the attention of readers to the cruelty that humanity is capable of. He also contributed to Wreaths for a Wayfarer, an anthology that mourned the death of Nigerian-Canadian, Pius Adesanmi, who was lost to a plane crash in 2019, as well as Sọ̀rọ̀sókè: An #EndSARS Anthology, which featured poems to memorialise the #EndSARS movement that rocked Nigeria in 2020.
Gbolahan has a Bachelors and Masters degree in English language from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria.
Innocent Chizaram Ilo
Innocent Chizaram Ilo is a Nigerian writer of Igbo extraction. Their work interrogates gender, class, memory, and sexuality. They have won numerous awards and have been published in literary magazines across four continents.
They were a finalist of the Gerald Kraak Award, Short Day Africa, and Wilbur Smith Author of Tomorrow prizes. They have also won the Africa YMCA and Oxford Festival of the Arts short story contests. In 2020, Ilo won the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize (African Region) for their story, “When a Woman Renounces Motherhood,” which explores what materialises in the aftermath of the death of a woman’s husband in certain African cultures, the Igbo culture in this case. Here, Ilo clearly shows an understanding of the feelings and sensibilities of women in traumatic situations.
Their works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Granta, adda, Isele Magazine, Fireside Magazine, Overland, Strange Horizons, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Cosmic Roots And Eldritch Shores, Cast of Wonders, Transcendent 4: Best of the Year Transgender Speculative Fiction Anthology, Short Story Day Africa Anthology, and Heart of The Matter: Gerald Kraak Award Anthology, and others.
Ilo is one of the most exciting voices in the sci-fi genre from Africa, and has published numerous fiction works in the genre. Their story on Fireside Magazine, “Female Computer Wanted, Apply Within,” set in a futuristic universe where robots and humans co-exist, manages to capture sexism and the political questions of gender and existence. The story is something of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four meets McEwan’s Machines Like Me, meets Kazuo Ishiguro’s Klara and the Sun, but yet unique in the way it merges these elements into something wholly authentic and original.
As an essayist, they have also seen the publication of important essays in The Republic and on the Al-jazeera websites. In, “Remembering My Father’s Biafra: The Politics of Becoming,” which was published in Al-jazeera, they explore one of the most sensitive issues of the Nigerian nationhood from a personal point of view. There is no doubt that Ilo is on the way to becoming one of Nigeria’s most recognised voices.
The Nigerian poet and essayist, Logan February, was born on 23rd April, 1999. They attended the University of Ibadan, majoring in Psychology. As one of the most gifted poets of their generation, they see the process of achieving the level of the language in their poetry as “a cognitive and emotional experience.” Thus, their poems excavate the peculiar emotions of the gay experience as a black man and as an African.
February’s poems began appearing quite early. In 2017, when they were barely 18, February published his first chapbook, How to Cook a Ghost. The next year, in 2018, their second chapbook, Painted Blue with Saltwater, appeared from Indolent Books. They continued to publish widely in such journals as Anmly, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Adroit Journal, Palette Poetry, A Long House, and other places, earning a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominations in the process.
In 2019, they published their full length poetry collection, In the Nude. The previous year, in 2018, the book manuscript of the collection had been a finalist for the Sillerman First Book Prize of the Africa Poetry Book Fund. In 2021, February became the youngest ever winner of the Future Awards Africa, alongside Rema.
February’s LGBTQ advocacy also goes beyond literature. They have previously curated YNaija’s “There is Hope” series during Pride Month in 2020. Speaking on their pessimism regarding the marginalisation of the LGBTQ community in Nigeria in an Open Country Magazine interview, February declares: “The culture changes, the culture shifts, but the law takes a very long time to change . . .”
February has also explored other artistic media related to poetry, such as music. Before he discovered poetry, his early years had been consumed by his interest in music. Till date, he has released a number of songs and has been featured on Eri Ife’s THE EP.
Logan February is currently an MFA candidate at Purdue University, USA.
Riham Adly, one of the most prolific emerging young African writers working today, was born in Giza, Egypt. She started writing quite early in life, but it was not until the 2010s that she began publishing her short stories widely. Till date, she has publications in over sixty journals and anthologies in Africa and beyond. And unlike many of her contemporaries in North Africa, Adly writes in English.
Adly is known mainly for her flash fiction which has tackled a number issues cutting across women in the Muslim world as well as the changing fortunes of family, women, and culture. Adly’s writing also captures contemporary Arabic culture and the reality of cosmopolitan life. She has described herself as a rebel at heart. Going against the mores and strictures of the society she grew up in, she abandoned her career as a dentist to pursue her first love, writing, well aware of the easier financial leeway she was leaving behind in order to focus on writing.
In 2013, Adly won the Makan Award for her story, “The Darker Side of the Moon.” She was a Best of the Net nominee in 2019, 2020, and 2021. She was also nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2019. She was also a finalist in 2018 for the ArabLit Translation Prize. Her fiction has appeared in journals and magazines, including Litro, The Citron Review, Connotation Press, Vestal Review, etc.
Her collection of flash-fiction stories, Love is Make Believe, was published by Clarendon House Books in the UK in 2021, making her the first woman from Africa and the Middle East to have a debut flash-fiction collection in English.
Riham Adly currently runs a book club in Egypt, and also facilitates various writing workshops. She has also worked as an editor for various magazines, including Vestal Review, and as a translator.
Chisom Okafor is a 28-year-old clinical nutritionist and poet. In recent times, Okafor’s status as one of the most talented poets of this generation is on the ascendancy. Okafor has described his normal work routine as involving work in the diet clinic of an army hospital in Lagos as well as teaching courses such as Clinical Nutrition and diet practice in the military college of nursing. His first-hand experiences there give his poetry a certain nous. The structure of his poems are usually tailored towards an understanding of clinical theories and practice in everyday life.
Okafor’s peculiar background in the clinical sciences serves as fodder for his poetry. His poems explore the body and its ravages and trauma through the lenses of clinical experience. His poems are often interspersed with medical register, dwelling a lot in the listing of the anatomical features of the human body, and seeks “to adopt language as a tool for breaking stereotypes that surround the experiences of the clinically vulnerable.”
Okafor has had poems published in journals and anthologies such as Prairie Schooner, adda, Rattle, Beloit Poetry Journal, Jacar One, Isele Magazine, The Gerald Kraak Anthology: Heart of the Matter (2019), SAND Journal, the Indian Journal of Literature and Aesthetics, and others. Okafor has received a Pushcart Prize nomination and has been shortlisted for the Gerald Kraak Award, Isele Poetry Prize, and Frontier Award for New Poets. In 2022, he was shortlisted for the Brunel African Poetry Prize.
From his progress so far, to say that the future is bright for Chisom Okafor is to state the obvious. Here is a poet who brings something new to contemporary African poetry—a willingness to explore emotions through a scientific medium. To read Okafor’s poems is to be acutely aware of human frailties.
Howard Meh-Buh Maximus
One of the most exciting young writers today, Howard Meh-Buh Maximus is setting the pace in every way possible in African literature. Growing up in Anglophone south-western Cameroon, Maximus only wrote stories for friends and had no intention to get them published. While doing his PhD studies at the University of Buea, he continued to write stories for himself and his friends until he heard about a writing contest in Yaounde, Cameroon’s capital. Thus, Maximus entered public spotlight afterwards.
He met the publisher of Bakwa Magazine, Dzekashu MacViban, who employed him as an editor in the magazine. From then on, he wrote essays and stories that were published in journals and anthologies, including Catapult, The Africa Report, The Kalahari Review, Lolwe, The Vanguard Book of Love Stories, Love Stories from Africa, amongst others.
Maximus won the Miles Morland Scholarship in 2021 to write a novel about four friends in an a cappella band on the brink of the Anglophone conflict in the Cameroons. He was also one of the ten writers featured in the anthology, Limbe to Lagos: Non-Fiction from Cameroon and Nigeria, curated by Bakwa and Saraba editors: Dzekashu MacViban, Emmanuel Iduma, and Dami Ajayi. Maximus is also an alumnus of the Ebedi Writers Residency as well as a finalist for the Alpine Fellowship, and has won the Kalahari Short Story Prize. In 2022, he won the Afritondo Short Story Prize for his short story, “Grotto,” which is about friendship and the fleeting nature of young love, according to the jury.
Currently, he is studying for his MFA at the Texas State University in the USA.
Joshua Chizoma, a African Nigerian lawyer and writer, is one writer that is making significant contributions to the African literary scene through beautiful writing and storytelling. Chizoma, who made it to the 2022 AKO Caine Prize shortlist with his short story, “Collector of Memories,” tells stories that mirror many happenings in present day society, from the glaring ones that we all notice to the mundane ones that are only noticed by the minority. Chizoma explores them all.
Chizoma’s art of storytelling is one thing that makes him stand out from other writers. He is an excellent storyteller, and his mastery of the craft announces itself in all his works. His stories have a way of drawing you in and keeping you engaged from start to finish. His voice is a distinct one, and it grows in intensity as the days go by. Chizoma stops at nothing to tell stories that need to be told, and that is why he needs to be heard.
Chizoma’s creative storytelling is not the only fascinating thing about him. He is also a brilliant and unbiased literature critic. In 2021, he won the Ken Saro Wiwa Prize for his review of The Son of the House by Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia. He has also won the Kreative Diadem Creative Writing Contest for flash fiction in 2018 for his short story, “The House Called Joy.”
Chizoma’s unique storytelling and voice has been influenced by a good number of Nigerian writers. One of them is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie whom he admires greatly. In an interview with Afrocritik months ago, Chizoma disclosed that being a member of Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus Workshop in 2019 impacted him greatly as a writer.
In an interview with Afritondo last year, Chizoma mentioned that there is abundance of writing talents in Africa but little exposure. There is a lot of truth in this statement. There is a great need for the African literary industry to empower its home voices because they are the ones who truly tell our stories as they should be told. We hope to see more of Chizoma’s creative storytelling in the coming months.
Nome Patrick Emeka
Nome Patrick Emeka is one of the finest contemporary poets Nigeria has, and that is not an understatement. His poetry explores a variety of themes and styles. His poem, “Boy, Life Will Break You,” fully explores the sad, happy and indifferent moments of the boy’s life. Nome loves to express himself through poetry, little wonder his poems pierce through one and speaks in the most audible voices. Nome is not the conventional poet who listens to old rules about what poetry should be or look like. He fully experiments with different styles and forms. This feature of his has made him one of the most brilliant contemporary poets.
Nome is also known for the spectacular titles he gives to his poems. His poem, “Sylvia Plath as an Old Story Title for Learning to Fight Depression Where the Semiotics Simply Suggest That a Garden Illustrates Peace as a Foreshadow Rather Than as a Vivid Depiction of an Ancestral Society of Sad Mothers & Helpless Fathers,” on Poetry has one of such titles. Nome is very passionate about his poetry, and it shows in the enthusiasm and hard work he puts into getting his works out into different magazines, anthologies, and other forms of literary curation. His works have been published in AGNI, Hayden’s Ferry Review, TriQuarterly, Beloit Poetry Journal, Black Warrior Review, and other reputable platforms.
Sometime in 2021, Nome started a fellowship called the Unserious Collective with Adedayo Agarau, Kolawole Samuel Adebayo, Wale Ayinla, Michael Akuchie, Pamilerin Jacob, and O-Jeremiah Agbaaki. The UnSerious Collective which kicked off as a group of friends/poets who did poetry and arts has since grown in amazing ways. In February 2022, The Collective announced its first fellowship which was aimed at commending emerging poets who did “experimental and daring” poetry with the sum of 50,000 naira each.
Nome reads for several literary magazines. He also works as an editor for Agbowo, a Nigerian-based literary magazine dedicated to new African literary and visual art.
Nome is currently studying for an MFA at Brown University. He still writes and publishes thought-provoking poetry while at it.
Some say Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s prowess in the literary scene is not very surprising since the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. His father, Ezenwa Ohaeto, was a renowned poet in his time, one of the very first to publish poems written in Pidgin English.
Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto has revealed that he greatly loved science and inventions as a child, but as he explored more interests, he would go on to fall out of love with the sciences and begin to write stories and poems. His father’s writing influenced him greatly, and he tried to model his own writing after his father’s. But his father would advise him to strive for originality. His father’s advice is one that he took well, and it is evident in his unique style of poetry.
Ezenwa-Ohaeto’s love for African literature inspired him to pursue a bachelor’s degree in English and Literary Studies at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, where he also bagged a Master’s degree in English Language and Literature later on. He has published works on The Spectacle, Frontier Poetry, A Long House, 20.35 Africa, Strange Horizons, Isele Magazine, Mud Season Review, Anathema Magazine, and elsewhere. He also has a published poetry chap book, The Teenager Who Became My Mother which has been described by Nome Patrick Emeka as “A boulevard of beauty.”
Ohaeto’s writing has won him several awards. Some include The New Hampshire Institute of Arts Writing Award in 2018, The Sevhage/Angus Poetry Prize, The 2018 Castello di Duino Poesia Prize, and others. Ohaeto continues to extend the frontiers of African Literature within and beyond the African Diaspora with his distinct style of writing, and we are here for all of it.
Ohaeto is currently pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Sihle Ntuli is a South African poet and Classicist with an MA in Classical Civilisations from Rhodes University, Makhanda. Ntuli had access to books during his formative years, and that made him a voracious reader who loved to learn new things. He was particularly interested in the works of Roald Dahl, and he spent a great amount of his childhood reading his work.
Ntuli’s earlier contact with poetry was with the South African imbongi (traditional praise poet) which he saw while growing up. The imbongis told stories about family history, sang panegyrics, and honoured worthy individuals through poetry. While growing up, Ntuli didn’t nuture the thought of becoming an imbongi, but he always sought to write things that would immortalise his name, that would be remarkable in history when he was no more. Ntuli also seeks to bring South African Poetry, especially that of Durban, where he currently resides, to the light. He is passionate about the South African culture, and he would long for the world to behold more of the beauty that it embodies.
Ntuli’s finds inspiration for his poetry in his everyday life and those things he notices around him. For Ntuli, poetry is a beautiful way to preserve. He writes poetry as though it is a sacred thing, and this is obvious in the delicate feel of his poems, notably “The Sun Turns on Us.”
Ntuli has published poems in reputable platforms like Lolwe, The Johannesburg Review of Books, Down River Road, Rumpus, Transition Magazine, SAND Journal, and other places. He also has a poetry chap book, Rumblin (uHlunga) which was published in 2020. His poetry was shortlisted for the 2017 DARLO Poetry Prize, and he won the 2019 Innovation Award for Curriculum Design and Delivery at University of The Free State where he used to be a lecturer.
Shingai Njeri Kagunda
Shingai Njeri Kagunda is a African feminist Afrosurreal/Futurist storyteller from Nairobi, Kenya.
Kagunda is a woman in tune with herself and her natural environment, and it is one element evident in her writing.
Her writing is inspired by her environment, her own life and that of those around her, her people, her culture, and life itself. Time travel is a dominant element in Kagunda’s writing, and she knows just how to explore it to the fullest. Kagunda writes Fantasy in the most beautiful way.
Kagunda has an MFA from Brown University, and in a couple of interviews she has granted, has admitted to the fact that her MFA classes have and are still contributing to her growth as a writer. Her debut novella, & This is How to Stay Alive, started as a short story in one of her MFA workshops. The novella which has since gained a good deal of local and international recognition explores important themes likes grief, death, homophobia, acceptance, and others.
Kagunda has been featured in Best American Sci-fi Fantasy (2020), Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2021), Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror (2021). Her short story, “Holding Onto Water,” was longlisted for the Nommo Awards in 2020. She also has published works on Omenana, FracturedLit, African Risen, Khoreo, and other places.