The African Women Writers Network began its journey with the first symposium back in 2010. Featuring writers and performers from all over Africa and its diaspora, the objectives of that first symposium were, amongst others:

  • to bring together African women writers to engage in a dialogue about African women’s writing,
  • to establish a network of African women writers,
  • to highlight the challenges of women on the African continent and in the African Diaspora,
  • to encourage the emergence of a Pan African women’s voice and continent-wide projects to strengthen women’s role in the literary arts,
  • to showcase African women writers in performance, and
  • to promote African women’s writing to a South African readership and audience.

Over the years, the Symposiums have hosted award-winning women writers from the continent and its diasporas, such as Nawal El Saadawi, Nadine Gordimer, Jayne Cortez, Miriam Tlali, Sapphire, Mona Eltahawy, Diana Ferrus, Kadija Sessay, Koleka Putuma, Barbara Schreiner, Shailja Patel, Zukiswa Wanner, Lola Shoneyin, Aja Monet and Samira Negrouche, amongst others.

In 2015, the first In Memoriam Nadine Gordimer Lecture took place as part of the Symposium, in honour of South Africa’s only woman Nobel Literary Laureate who passed away in 2014. Renowned writers Gillian Slovo, Aminatta Forna, Lorna Goodison, and Leila Aboulela have delivered the lecture since then.

Last but not least, free masterclasses and workshops open to all are an integral part of the symposium.

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6th International African Women Writers’ Symposium (2018)

29 November – 7 December 2018

The 6th International African Women Writers’ Symposium featured a line-up of local and international writers of distinction over a period of 9 days with panel discussions, talks, poetry, music, and workshops (on music writing, scriptwriting, poetry).

Guest Writers:

Leila Aboulela (Sudan/Egypt), Redi Tlhabi (SA – Khwezi), Willie Perdomo (USA), Chris Steyn (SA – The Lost Boys of Bird Island), Vangi Gantsho (SA), Malaika Mahlatsi (SA) with Nomboniso Gasa and Sylvia Vollenhoven as convenors for the panel discussions. Curator: Roshnie Moonsammy.

Women’s Words: African Worlds (2010)

25 – 26 August 2010

Renewing a dialogue between African Women Writers and Women of African descent. This pioneering programme featured writers and performers of the written and spoken word, from all over Africa and its

Guest Writers:

Lauretta Ngcobo (South Africa), Lola Shoneyin (Nigeria), Shailja Patel (Kenya), Henrietta Rose-Innes (South Africa), Veronique Tadjo (Ivory Coast / South Africa), Miriam Tlali (South Africa), Samira Negrouche (Algeria), Adaobi Nwaubani (Nigeria), Arja Salafranca (South Africa), Seatholo Tumedi (Botswana), Lulli Callinicos (South Africa), Ellen Ndeshi Namhila (Namibia), Liesel Jobson (South Africa) Leloba Molema (Botswana), Masechaba Moshoeshoe (South Africa), Lynda Spencer (South Africa), Lisa Combrinck (South Africa), Jayne Cortez (USA), Nosipho Kota (South Africa), Sindiswa Seakhoa (South Africa), Lila Momple (Mozambique), Pan African band.