Maaza Mengiste
Maaza MengisteWRITER /AUTHOR
Maaza Mengiste is an Ethiopian-American writer and author of the 2010 novel ‘Beneath the Lion’s Gaze’. Mengiste was born in 1974 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, but left at the age of four when her family fled the Ethiopian Revolution. She spent the rest of her childhood in Nigeria, Kenya, and the United States. She later studied in Italy as a Fulbright Scholar and earned an MFA degree in creative writing from New York University. Her debut novel ‘Beneath the Lion’s Gaze’ was named one of the 10 best contemporary African books by The Guardian. Mengiste’s upcoming novel, ‘The Shadow King’, is set to release this upcoming autumn.
Loyce Gayo
Loyce Gayo is a Tanzanian-born creative, activist and teaching artist. Her work is influenced by her experience in the African Diaspora and celebrates the journey of a people dispersed. Gayo was the slam champion of the UT Spitshine poetry slam team, which won the 2014 College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). Her poems have been featured by Button Poetry, Write About Now, Badilisha Poetry, Fields Magazine and PBS. She teaches for Writers in the Schools and founded Paza Sauti, a creative writing and performance initiative for East African youths.
Sulaiman Addonia is a novelist who fled Eritrea as a refugee in childhood. He spent his early life in a refugee camp in Sudan following the Om Hajar massacre in 1976, and in his early teens he lived and studied in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. He arrived in London as an underage unaccompanied refugee without a word of English and went on to earn an MA in Development Studies from SOAS and a BSc in Economics from UCL. The Consequences of Love was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was translated into more than 20 languages. Sulaiman Addonia currently lives in Brussels where he has launched a creative writing academy for refugees and asylum seekers. Silence is My Mother Tongue is his second novel.
Dalia Elhassan is a Sudanese-American poet and writer by way of Miami and lives in NYC. Her work has placed in several competitions in the past and is featured in a number of publications, including The Kenyon Review, the Sierra Nevada Review, The Oakland Arts Review, and Rattle #59. She is the recipient of the Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Prize for nonfiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Dalia has spoken and performed at venues including the 2017 Justice Speaks! Conference at Seattle Pacific University.
Jamila Osman is a writer and educator living in Portland, Oregon. Her work spans a broad range of issues, ranging from the tension between place and identity, to immigration and border justice, to education and race. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous literary and news publications, including Al Jazeera, Boaat Press, Catapult and Teen Vogue. She has received fellowships and residencies from Caldera, Djerassi, the Macdowell Colony and other places.
More recently, Osman was shortlisted for the 2019 Brunel International African Poetry Prize and was named as a winner alongside Nadra Mabrouk of Egypt. She is also currently working on a memoir chronicling her parents’ displacement from Somalia, and the death of her sister Ayan in 2014. It is a meditation on the way trauma and memory are passed on across geography and between generations.