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Commonwealth Writers Conversations

Commonwealth Writers Conversations are platforms facilitated by Commonwealth Writers in which writers, filmmakers, artists, activists and policymakers discuss narratives from across the Commonwealth.

Here you can find information, write-ups and recordings of Conversations spanning the Commonwealth.

Conversations often take place in relation to our other projects, and frequently take place at international cultural festivals, conferences and book launches.

 

Cyprus at 60

Cyprus High Commission in the UK | October 2020

As part of Cyprus@60, an online festival to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment and independence of the Republic of Cyprus organised by the Cyprus High Commission in the UK in October 2020, Commonwealth Writers organised a conversation between 2019 Short Story Prize winner Contantia Soteriou, translator Lina Protopapa, and novelist Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.

 

 

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. She has a PhD from Lancaster University. Her first novel, Kintu (Oneworld, 2018), won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013, and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize in 2014. She won the 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for ‘Let’s Tell This Story Properly’, which featured in her short story collection, Manchester Happened (Oneworld, 2019), and her second novel, The First Woman, was published by Oneworld in October 2020. She was awarded the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for Fiction in 2018, and lives in Manchester where she lectures in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

 

 

Constantia Soteriou

Constantia Soteriou is an award-winning author born in Nicosia. Patakis Publishers have published three of her books: Aishe Goes on Vacation, which received the Athens Prize for Literature, Voices made of Soil, which was shortlisted for the Cyprus Literature awards, and  Bitter Country, shortlisted for the European Union prize for Literature. She has written plays for independent stages and for the Cyprus Theatre Organization. In 2019 Constantia won the Commonwealth Short Story prize for her story ‘Death Customs’. 

Lina Protopapa 

Lina Protopapa lives in Nicosia, where she works as a translator and cultural critic. Her translation of ‘Death Customs’  from the Greek received the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, while her translation of Nikolas Kyriakou’s  ‘The Debt’ was shortlisted for the same prize in 2020.

Women Who Walk With Water

Women Who Walk With Water

Vera Moody Concert Hall | Jamaica | May 2019

A performance and conversation on climate change and gender

Women Who Walk With Water debuted a performance responding to the themes of climate change and gender. Through performance and discussion, the evening sparked a dialogue with attendees on climate issues facing the world, and the role of art in inspiring these urgent conversations. A unique performance was produced collaboratively by Jamaican artists and Commonwealth Writers. The event featured special performances from local poets and a poet from the Pacific, and was followed by a Q&A discussion chaired by Dr Susan Otuokon, exploring the gendered impact of climate change in the Caribbean and the role of art and creative expression in strengthening and shaping public conversation on these issues.

The performance coincided with and aimed to enrich a three-day conversation taking place between Caribbean NGOs, artists and activists who met at the Institute for Gender and Development Mona Campus Unit, University of the West Indies, to discuss the effects of climate change on marginalised and vulnerable communities.

POETS

Najuequa Barnes

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze

A-dZiko Simba Gegele

Mbala Mgabo

Karlo Mila

 

DANCE

L’ACADCO – A United Caribbean Dance Force

 

MUSIC

Drum Xplosion

 

CHAIR

Dr Susan Otuokon

 

We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture

Caribbean Launch events

In May 2019 Commonwealth Writers launched the Caribbean edition of We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the descendants of Indenture in Trinidad and Tobago as part of Bocas Lit Fest, and in Guyana, both in partnership with Bocas Lit Fest and Peekash Press.

We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture

Moray House | Guyana | May 2019

Caribbean Edition Launch with Peekash Press and Bocas Lit Fest

Pictured: Audience members; Gabrielle Hosein; Mr. Gee & Anitha Sethi; Kevin Jared Hosein (photo by Mark Tumbridge); Kojo McPherson; Vanda Radzik; Indus Voices (Amar Ramessar, Alana Warde, Tarun Daodat); Kevin Jared Hosein, Gabrielle Hosein & Vanda Radzik; audience members; Vanda Radzik (photo by Mark Tumbridge).

Anita Sethi, facilitator of the nonfiction part of our Guyana writers’ workshop in May 2019 and a contributor to the Caribbean launch events of We Mark Your Memory, wrote a blog about her time in Georgetown as part of the launch and her trip to Berbice, during which she met the Prime Minister of Guyana and spoke with family in Berbice about the legacies of indentured labour. Please read the blog, ‘Dispatch from Berbice, Guyana’.

 

We Mark Your Memory: Writing from the Descendants of Indenture

Bocas Lit Fest | Trinidad and Tobago | May 2019

Caribbean Edition Launch with Peekash Press and Bocas Lit Fest

Pictured: Audience and panel; Gabrielle Hosein, Janet Steel, Patti-Anne Ali & Kevin Jared Hosein; Patti-Anne Ali; Sharda Patasar; Janet Steel & Kevin Jared Hosein; Gabrielle Hosein, Stella Chong Sing, Rani Lakhan-Narace, Kevin Jared Hosein, Patti-Anne Ali. All photos by Marlon James, courtesy of Bocas Lit Fest.

We Mark Your Memory: Legacies of Indenture

Bangalore Literature Festival, India | October 2018

We Mark Your Memory: Legacies of Indenture

Barefoot Books, Colombo, Sri Lanka | October 2018