Guest writer 2008
Tolu Ogunlesi was born in 1982 and belongs to a globally oriented generation, writing short stories and poetry, and having his own blog: http://www.felameetsabba.
He says that he looks forward to writing travel stories from the Nordic countries when he is based at the Nordic Africa Institute in September, October and November 2008. A book with his poetry, Listen to the Geckos singing from a balcony, was published in 2004 by Bewrite Books. An essay, “To a Cartoonist”, prompted by the well-known Danish cartoons of Mohammed, was published in the anthology The Obituary Tango (Jacana, 2006) alongside the Caine Prize winners of 2005. It was written at a Caine Prize writers’ workshop in Kenya in 2006.
Three other applicants were identified as reserves:
Shailja Patel, a Kenyan poet, playwright and theatre artist, who is working on a three-part work on “Migritude”, weaving the histroy of her Indian family together with the colonial and postcolonial history of Kenya.
Brian Chiwawa, a London-based Zimbabwean writer and musician, who has recently completed a novel on Harare North, the popular Zimbabwean name for London.
John Eppel, a writer and teacher in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, who has published poetry and fiction since 1982, but as a white and irreverent writer has not received the recognition he deserves.
The selection committee for the NAI African guest writer grant consisted of Ashleigh Harris from the University of Witwatersrand and at present at the English Department at Uppsala University, Stefan Helgesson literary critic and research fellow in the Department of Literature, Uppsala University, Kirsten Holst Petersen, lecturerer at Roskilde University, and Mai Palmberg, coordinator of the research programme Cultural Images in and of Africa at the Nordic Africa Institute.