Anticipating an Audience for African Writing

Anticipating an Audience for African Writing

Thursday, September 13

4:00 PM

Whitney Humanities Center, Rm 208
53 Wall Street
New Haven  Connecticut  06511
United States
Free & open to the public

When Jennifer Makumbi wrote Kintu, her epic novel of Uganda, western publishers told her that the book was “too African.” Matthew Shenoda talks with Makumbi and her American publishers, Adam Z. Levy and Ashley Nelson Levy, about the journey of her book to the American market and beyond.

Matthew Shenoda is a writer, professor, and university administrator whose poems and essays have appeared in a variety of newspapers, journals, radio programs and anthologies. His debut collection of poems, Somewhere Else (Coffee House Press), was named one of 2005's debut books of the year by Poets & Writers Magazine and was winner of a 2006 American Book Award. He is currently the Vice President of Social Equity & Inclusion and Professor of Literary Arts and Studies at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Shenoda is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.

Adam Z. Levy is the co-publisher of Transit Books, a nonprofit publisher of international and American literature, based in Oakland, California. His authors include Wioletta Greg, who was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize; Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, winner of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize; and Andrés Barba, winner of the 2017 Herralde Prize. He is also a translator from the Hungarian. His most recent translation is Gábor Schein's The Book of Mordechai.

Ashley Nelson Levy is the co-publisher of Transit Books, a nonprofit publisher of international and American literature, based in Oakland, California. Her authors include Wioletta Greg, who was longlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize; Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, winner of the 2018 Windham-Campbell Prize; and Andrés Barba, winner of the 2017 Herralde Prize. She received her MFA from Columbia University, where she was a Clein/Lemann fellow. Her writing has been noted in Best American Nonrequired Reading and appeared in Zyzzyva, Catapult, the Atlas Review, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Bambi Holmes Award for Emerging Writers.

Co-sponsors: Council on African Studies, Whitney Humanities Center