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About


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Advisory Board

 Melanie Abrhams
Melanie Abrahams is the founder of the companies renaissance one and Tilt. She mentors emerging producers and lectures widely. She was the curator of Modern Love, a project exploring love and modern relationships which was nominated for an EMMA Award for Best Theatre/Play. She has collaborated with the BBC on spoken word projects including 'Facing Leicester Square', a revisiting of James Baldwin's Another Country, and 'Back Home', an email story chain featuring Ali Smith, Ama Ata Aidoo, Gary Younge, Romesh Gunesekera and other writers. Melanie Abrahams joined the Wasafiri Board in 2001.
 Ashok Bery
Ashok Bery is Senior Lecturer in English at the London Metropolitan University where he teaches Postcolonial Literature and Theory, Twentieth-Century British and American Poetry, Romantic Poetry and Poetic Forms and Genres. In 2000 he published Comparing Postcolonial Literatures: Dislocations (edited with Patricia Murray). His most recent publication is Cultural Translation and Postcolonial Poetry (2007) and he is currently working on recent Indian poetry in English and on the literature of the Partition. He has been a Wasafiri Board member since 1995.
Amit Chaudhuri
Amit Chaudhuri was born in Calcutta and has published several prize winning novels as well as works of literary criticism.His work frequently appears in well known journals across the globe. His most recent publications include a collection of essays, Clearing A Space: Reflections on India, Literature and Culture (2008), the collection of poetry, St Cyril Road and Other Poems (2005) and the volume of short stories Real Time (2002). Earlier novels such as A Strange and Sublime Address (1991) and Afternoon Raag (1993) won various prizes including the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book and the Southern Arts Literature Prize. Also a practising musician, he is currently a Professor in Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia and has been on the Advisory board of Wasafiri since 2006. Visit Amit’s site.
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Brian Chikwava joined the Wasafiri Advisory Board in 2011. He is a past Caine Prize winner and author of Harare North (Jonathan Cape 2009). He tutors at City University London and is a past Charles Pick Fellow at the University of East Anglia. He has also held fellowships at Santa Maddalena Foundation, Dora Maar House and the Civitella Ranieri Foundation. He is currently working on his second novel.

Merle Collins was born in Grenada and studied in Jamaica and the USA. After university, she served as a coordinator for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean with Maurice Bishop’s People’s Revolutionary Government in Grenada. During this time, her first works were published in Callaloo: Four Writers from Grenada (1984); her first collection of poetry, Because the Dawn Breaks appeared a year later. In 1987, Collins published her first novel, Angel. Her short story collection, Rain Darling (1990) and poetry collection, Rotten Pomerack (1992), were followed by her second novel, The Colour of Forgetting, published in 1995. She became a member of the Advisory Board in 1988. For more information about Merle and her writing visit www.geocities.com/merlecollins.
David Dabydeen
David Dabydeen is a writer, critic and historian who first became known for his prize-winning collection of Creole poems, Slave Song (1984). His first novel, The Intended, was published in 1991 followed by Disappearance (1993) and The Counting House (1996). A Harlot’s Progress (1999) continued Dabydeen’s interest in art history after he published his long poem Turner (1994), which revisits Turner’s painting The Slave Ship. In 2004 he received the Raja Rao Award for Literature and in 2008 he published his latest novel, Molly and the Muslim Stick, receiving in the same year the Anthony Sabga Prize for Literature. He has written and presented for radio and television and is also Guyana’s Ambassador-at-Large and a member of UNESCO’s executive board. He currently teaches at the University of Warwick where he is Director of the Centre for Caribbean Studies. Dabydeen has been an active supporter of Wasafiri since 1985.
Bernardine Evaristo
Bernardine Evaristo MBE was born in London to a Nigerian father and English mother. Her six books include Hello Mum, a novella written in the voice of a teenage boy (2010), Lara, a verse novel based on her family history spanning England, Nigeria, Ireland, Germany and Brazil (republished with new material in 2009), Blonde Roots, a prose novel in which Africans enslave Europeans (2008), Soul Tourists, a novel-with-verse about contemporary and historical Europe (2005), and The Emperor's Babe, a verse novel set in Roman London (2001). She also co-edited the black and Asian poetry anthology Ten, with Daljit Nagra (2010), the black British issue of Wasafiri - Black Britain: Beyond Definition with Karen McCarthy Woolf (2010), and the British Council/Granta anthology NW15, with Maggie Gee (2007). She reviews books for the Times, Guardian, Independent and Financial Times and has written for theatre and BBC radio. She has received and judged several literary awards and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Arts. www.bevaristo.wordpress.com.
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Robert Fraser is the author of several monographs, including studies of Sir James Frazer, Proust, Victorian quest literature and postcolonial fiction. His critical portrait of Ben Okri, Towards the Invisible City (2002), was described in Wasafiri as ‘poetic psychobiography’ and The Chameleon Poet (2002), his life of George Barker, became a Spectator book of the year. He is currently a senior research fellow at the Open University and is working on a history of the biographical form. After a long history with the magazine, Robert Fraser became an Advisory Board member in 2010.
Maggie Gee
Maggie Gee joined the Wasafiri Advisory Board in 2004. She is the writer of eleven novels, a collection of short stories, The Blue, and a memoir, My Animal Life (2010). Born in Poole, Dorset, she was one of the original 20 'Best of Young British Novelists'. Her seventh novel The White Family (2002) was shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the International Impac Award. Her last two novels, My Cleaner (2005) and My Driver (2009) are political comedies set between Uganda and the UK, and her work-in-progress is her first American novel, Virginia Woolf in Manhattan. Maggie Gee was the first woman Chair of the Royal Society for Literature (2004-2008) and is now one of its Vice-Presidents. She is a Visiting Professor at Sheffield Hallam University.
Rachael Gilmour is a Lecturer in Postcolonial Studies at Queen Mary, University of London.Much of her research focuses on issues of language, translation, and linguistic encounter in colonial and postcolonial contexts from 18th- and 19th-century South Africa to contemporary multilingual Britain. Her book Grammars of Colonialism (2006) is a study of the complex relationship between colonialism and linguistic ideas in South Africa. Her current research addresses the work of translingual writers in 20th- and 21st-century Britain. She is also co-editing a volume on the end of empire and the English novel with Bill Schwarz. She joined the Wasafiri board in 2008.
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Simon Gikandi is Professor of English at Princeton University. He is the recipient of numerous awards from organisations such as the American Council of Learned Societies, the Mellon Foundation, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. His many books include Reading the African Novel (1987), Maps of Englishness: Writing Identity in the Culture of Colonialism (1996) and Ngugi wa Thiong'o (2000). He is the general editor of The Encyclopedia of African Literature (2002) and co-editor of The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature (2004). He is currently completing a book on the relation between slavery and the culture of taste.
Nadine Gordimer
Nadine Gordimer is a Nobel Prize-winning novelist perhaps best known for her consistent condemnation of apartheid. Unlike many others of her generation, she chose to remain in South Africa during the difficult period and became centrally involved in the activities of the African National Congress. Gordimer’s first novel, Dying Days, appeared in 1953. Her other works include The Late Bourgeois World (1966), Burgher’s Daughter (1979), My Son’s Story (1990), The Pickup (2002) and Loot (2003). Gordimer is also a well-known essayist and delivered the prestigious Charles Eliot Norton lectures at Harvard University in 1995 which were published the same year in the collection, Writing and Being. Her latest publications include the novel Get A Life (2005) and the collection of short stories Beethoven Was On –Sixteenth Black (2007). Gordimer became a member of the Wasafiri Advisory Board in 1996.
Abdulrazak Gurnah
Abdulrazak Gurnah has contributed to the development of Wasafiri from the beginning, working as a contributing editor since 1987. Born in Zanzibar, he left in the late 1960s and migrated to Britain. His first novel Memory of Departure, was published in 1987 and was quickly followed by Pilgrim’s Way (1988) and Dottie (1990). His 1994 novel Paradise was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction. His most recent novels are By the Sea (2001) and Desertion (2004). Gurnah is Professor of Literature at the School of English, University of Kent, Canterbury, and has edited two volumes of critical work entitled Essays on African Writing: A Revaluation (1993) and Essays on African Literature (1995). He has also published on Wole Soyinka, V S Naipaul and his latest edited work on Salman Rushdie was published in 2008.
Romesh Gunesekera grew up in Sri Lanka and the Phillipines before moving to England in 1971. He is the author of various novels and short stories. After the 1992 appearance of his first novel Monkfish Moon, he went on to publish Reef (1994) which was shortlisted for the Booker and The Sandglass (1998). Both novels have won him several prestigious prizes, including the inaugural BBC Asia Award for Achievement in Writing and Literature. In 2004 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and his most recent novel, The Match, was published in 2006. He currently lives in London. Visit Romesh’s site at www.romeshgunesekera.com.
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Lyn Innes is Emeritus Professor of Postcolonial Literatures at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Born and educated in Australia, she moved to North America and developed her interest in cultural nationalism, focusing on Irish, African, African American and Caribbean literatures. At the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, she worked with the Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, and became associate editor for the journal founded by Achebe, OKIKE: An African Journal of New Writing. She also co-edited two volumes of African short stories with Chinua Achebe. Her publications include The Devil's Own Mirror: the Irish and the African in Modern Literature (1990); Chinua Achebe (1990); A History of Black and South Asian Writing in Britain (2002, 2008); The Cambridge Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures in English (2007) and Ned Kelly (2008). She is currently editing the three autobiographical narratives written by Francis Fedric, a fugitive slave who lived in England 1857-65, and researching the history of black and Asian writers and artists in Ireland. Lyn Innes has been on the Board of Wasafiri since 1984.
Maya Jaggi
Maya Jaggi was formerly Literary Editor of Third World Quarterly. She is a well known and highly respected feature writer and lead reviewer on international literature for the Guardian. She has written widely for publications including the TLS, The Observer, Financial Times and Index on Censorship and has contributed to BBC radio programmes including Front Row, Off the Page and The World Tonight. She has twice been named National Newspaper Writer of the Year in the Race in the Media Awards (1996 and 1998) and feature writer of the year at the EMMA awards (1998 and 1999). Some of her literary profiles appear in Lives and Works (2002) and her introduction to Chinua Achebe’s Anthills of the Savannah appeared in the 2001 Penguin Modern Classics edition. She has also been a judge on various literary prizes such as the David Cohen and Orange prizes, and has been an Advisory Board member of Wasafiri since 1991.
Louis James is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Kent, Canterbury. In the 1960s he taught at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and published widely in the fields of Victorian, Modern and Caribbean literature. His publications include Jean Rhys (1978), Fiction for the Working Man (1963), Caribbean Literature in English (1998) and The Victorian Novel (2006). While at UWI, he also edited Islands In Between (1968). Louis James has been involved with Wasafiri from its inception at the University of Kent.
Lisa Jardine is Director at the Centre of Editing Lives and Letters and Centenary Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London. She appears regularly on television and radio, and has published widely in the field of Renaissance intellectual history, East-West cultural exchanges and the rise of modern science. She is a member of the Council of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), a Trustee of the Victoria and Albert Museum and a member of Council of the Royal Institution of Great Britain. She has judged the Whitbread and Orwell Prizes, and chaired the 1997 Orange Orize for Fiction and the 2002 Man Booker prize. Her latest publications include Going Dutch: How England plundered Holland’s Glory (2008) and A Point of View (2008) and she has recently been awarded the position of Distinguished Visitor Fellowship at the Hague which she will hold until 2009. She joined the Wasafiri Advisory Board in 1996.
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David Johnson is senior lecturer at the Open University in English Literature. His publications include Shakespeare and South Africa (1996), Jurisprudence: A South African Perspective (principal author, 2001), A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures in English (co-editor, 2005) and Twentieth-Century Literature Reader: Texts and Debates (co-editor with Suman Gupta, 2005). He is series editor, with Ania Loomba, of the Edinburgh University Press series Postcolonial Literary Studies. He has been on the Wasafiri Board since 2004 and edited issue 35: 'Travellers Tales: Alternative Traditions'.
 
Stephanie Jones is a lecturer at the University of Southampton where she teaches maritime and postcolonial literatures and works more broadly in the field of Indian Ocean studies, and the inter-discipline of law and literature. She has published on literatures from East Africa and the South Asian diaspora, poetry in early modern maritime law, pirates and eighteenth century natural law, and contemporary constitutional law, with articles in Interventions, Moving Worlds and The Journal of East African Studies among others. Her special issue of Wasafiri 'Indian Oceans' was published in June 2011.
 tabish khair
Tabish Khair was educated mostly in Bihar, India. After working as a journalist for the Times of India in Delhi, he joined academia in Denmark via the usual immigrant process of washing dishes, painting houses etc. His publications include the studies, Babu Fictions (2001) and The Gothic, Postcolonialism and Otherness (2009), the anthology Other Routes: 1500 Years of African and Asian Travel Writing (2006), the novels The Bus Stopped and Filming (2004, 2007) and the poetry collection, Where Parallel Lines Meet (2000). He is the recipient of numerous awards including the All India Poetry Prize and has published in journals and magazines in India, Britain, Denmark and elsewhere, such as the Times of India, Biblio, The Guardian, New Statesman and Politiken. Tabish Khair joined the Wasafiri board in 2007. Visit Tabish's website at www.tabishkhair.com.
 
Jean Khalfa joined the Wasafiri  Board in 2004 and in 2005 edited a special issue on the Algerian activist, writer and psychiatrist Frantz Fanon, partly reproduced in translation in Les Temps Modernes, of which Khalfa is an editor. Khalfa lectures in the Department of French at Trinity College, Cambridge and is the editor of, among other publications, What Is Intelligence (1994 and 1996); Afrique du sud le cap de bonne espérance (1995), The New French Poetry: A Bilingual Anthology (1996), An Introduction to the Philosophy of Gilles Deleuze (2003), the first complete edition of Michel Foucault's History of Madness (2006, 2009). A recent interview on Fanon is available at www.rfi.fr/francais/radio/editions/072/edition_53_20060219.asp.
Mimi Khalvati
Mimi Khalvati was born in Tehran, Iran, grew up on the Isle of Wight and went to the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Having worked both as an actor and director in Britain and Iran, Khalvati founded Matrix, a women’s experimental theatre group and was co-founder of Theatre in Exile. Mimi Khalvati is also an award-winning poet. Her publications include In White Ink (1991), Mirrorwork (1995), Entries on Light (1997), Selected Poems (2000) and The Chine (2002). More recently, she has co-edited anthologies such as I am twenty people! (2007) and Entering the Tapestry (2003). Her collection of poetry, The Meanest Flower (2007) was shortlisted for the T S Eliot prize, and in 2006, she received a Cholmondeley Award from the Society of Authors. She is a tutor at both the Poetry School in London and the Arvon Foundation. Mimi also teaches Creative Writing in North America and Britain. Her latest publication New and Selected Poems is published by Carcanet and is out this year. Visit Mimi’s site at www.mimikhalvati.co.uk.
Ranjana Khanna is Professor of English and Director of  Women’s Studies at Duke University. She works on Anglo- and Francophone postcolonial theory and literature, psychoanalysis, and feminist theory. She has published on transnational feminism, psychoanalysis, autobiography, postcolonial agency, multiculturalism in an international context, postcolonial Joyce, Area Studies and Women's Studies and Algerian film. She is the author of Dark Continents: Psychoanalysis and Colonialism (2003) and Algeria Cuts: Women and Representation 1830 to the Present (2008). Her current work in progress is called Asylum: The Concept and the Practice. Ranjanna Khanna joined the Advisory Board in 2004.
Awaiting image Denise DeCaires Narain is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Humanities at the University of Sussex and has published widely on Caribbean women’s writing. Her book, Contemporary Caribbean Women’s Writing: Making Style was published in 2001 and she is currently working on a monograph on the Jamaican writer Olive Senior. She is also working on a book-length study of postcolonial women's writing, provisionally titled, Writing and Reading 'the' Postcolonial Woman which originally started on a Leverhulme Fellowship. She was the judge of the Guyana Fiction Prize in 2003 and has been a member of the Advisory Board of Wasafiri since 2003 although she has been a contributor to Wasafiri for many years.
Alastair Niven Alastair Niven OBE is Principal of Cumberland Lodge, Windsor and  was  President of English PEN from 2003 to 2007. He was former director of literature at the Arts Council of Great Britain (latterly the Arts Council of England) and the British Council. Currently chair of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Advisory Committee, he was one of the judges of the Booker in 1994. He has written several critical books, including two on D H Lawrence and two on Indian fiction. For thirteen years he was the Editor of the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and has been a member of Wasafiri’s Advisory Board since 2001.
Michael Ondaatje
Michael Ondaatje is a writer and poet, best known for his Booker Prize winning novel, The English Patient (1992), which became an Oscar winning film in 1996, directed by Anthony Minghella. His other prose works include The Collected Words of Billy the Kid (1970), Coming Through Slaughter (1976), Running in the Family (1982), The Skin of a Lion (1987), Anil’s Ghost (2000) and The Story (2006). He has published numerous volumes of poetry and edited The Faber Book of Contemporary Short Stoies (1990) and The Brick Reader (1991). His most recent novel, Divisadero, was published in 2007. He is currently a member of the Department of English at Glendon College, York University in Toronto and has been on the Wasafiri Advisory Board since 1996.
Caryl Phillips
Caryl Phillips is an internationally acclaimed writer whose work includes novels, television documentaries, and screenplays such as the adaptation of VS Naipaul’s The Mystic Masseur, for which he won the Silver Ombu for best screenplay at the Mar Del Plata Film Festival. His many novels include The Final Passage (1985), The Nature of Blood (1997) and, more recently, A Distant Shore (2003), Foreigners (2007) and The Falling Snow (2009). He was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2002, and has won a variety of prizes for his work, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2004, Pen/Beyond the Margins Award and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He is currently a Professor of English at Yale University. Visit Caryl’s site at www.carylphillips.com.
 Minoli Salgado
Minoli Salgado is a writer and academic who teaches English literature at the University of Sussex. Born in Malaysia, raised in Sri Lanka and South East Asia and educated mainly in England, she has published widely on migrant studies and diasporic literature. She is the author of Writing Sri Lanka: Literature, Resistance and the Politics of Place (2007), the first monograph to situate Sri Lankan English literature in relation to postcolonial debates and contemporary cultural theory, and has also published poetry, short fiction and short story criticism internationally. She has been on Wasafiri's Board since 2004.
Fiona Sampson Fiona Sampson is a poet whose collections of poetry include Folding the Real (2001), The Distance Between Us (2005) and Common Prayer (2007), shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Prize. She has written and edited several books on the theory of creative writing, including The Self on the Page: Theory and Practice of Creative Writing in Self Development (1998) and Writing: Self and Reflexivity (2005). Her book Writing Poetry is due for publication in 2009. She was co-editor of the anthology A Fine Line (2004) and founding editor of Orient Express, a journal of contemporary writing from the EU enlargement countries (2002-05). Seven of her own books are published in translation, one of which, Patuvacki Dnevnik (Macedonia), received the 2004 Zlaten Prsten prize. Since 2005 she has been the editor of Poetry Review and contributes regularly to radio and to the press. She joined the Wasafiri board in 2008.

Sukhdev Sandhu joined Wasafiri's Board in 2004 when he edited the highly regarded ‘Focus on Film’ issue (Winter 2004). Sandhu gained his doctorate from Oxford University and teaches at New York University. An award-winning film critic for the Telegraph, he also writes for London Review of Books, New StatesmanSüddeutsche Zeitung and Vertigo. He is the author of London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City (2003), I’ll Get My Coat (2005), and Night Haunts: A Journey Through the London Night (2007).

 
Hirsh Sawhney was joined the Wasafiri board in 2006. He is the editor of Delhi Noir, an anthology of brand-new fiction published by Akashic Books and HarperCollins India. He regularly writes for the Times Literary Supplement and the Guardian and is a Contributing Editor for The Brooklyn Rail. An adjunct professor at the City University of New York, Hirsh has also taught English to asylum seekers in London and was a Spanish-English translator for the Independent Press Association. He is working on his first novel and has been awarded a fellowship to study writing at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. Visit his website at www.hirshsawhney.com.
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Bapsi Sidhwa is one of Pakistan's most prominent English fiction writers. In 1991, she was the recipient of Sitara-i-Imtiaz, Pakistan's highest honour and in 1998 her novel Cracking India (1991, originally published as Ice Candy Man in 1988) was adapted into the film, Earth, by renowned filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Her other novels include The Crow Eaters (1978), The Bride (1982) and An American Brat (1993), which was adapted for the stage and produced in 2007. Her latest publications are Water and City of Sin and Splendour: Writings on Lahore, both of which came out in 2006. She has been on the Wasafiri Advisory Board since 1996. Visit Bapsi’s site at www.bapsisidhwa.com.
Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Ngugi wa Thiong’o is one of Kenya’s best known novelists and activists who campaigns for ‘cultural decolonisation’ in Africa’s educational institutions and the promotion of African languages — the subject of many of his essays including those that appear in Decolonising the Mind (1986) and Moving the Centre (1993). His first novel, Weep Not Child was published in 1964. This was followed by The River Between (1965), A Grain of Wheat (1967) and later Petals of Blood (1977). His insistence on writing in his native language, Gikuyu, led to his imprisonment in 1977 when he produced a Gikuyu play at the Kamiriithu Community and Education Centre, an activity deemed subversive by the Kenyatta-Moi regime. During his year-long detention in a maximum security prison he wrote Devil on the Cross. Ngugi’s latest epic novel, Wizard of the Crow was published in 2006. He has received many awards including the 2001 Nonino International Prize for Literature and several honorary doctorates. Ngugi has been on the Advisory Board since 1996 and is currently at the University of California, Irvine. Visit his site at www.ngugiwathiongo.com.

Marina Warner

Marina Warner CBE is an eminent and prolific cultural critic and writer. Her non-fiction publications include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (1985), which won the Fawcett Book Prize, Signs and Wonders: Essays in Literature and Culture (2003) and The Symbol Gives Rise to Thought (2006). Her fiction includes In a Dark Wood (1977), The Skating Party (1982) and The Lost Father (1988), which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Indigo (1992), The Leto Bundle (2001) and a collection of short stories, Mermaids in the Basement (1993). Amongst her publications for children are the books The Impossible Day (1981) and The Wobbly Tooth (1984). She wrote the libretti for the children’s opera The Legs of the Queen of Sheba (1991) and for In the House of Crossed Desires (1996). Marina is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature and has been a member of the Wasafiri Advisory Board since 1996. Visit Marina’s site at www.marinawarner.com.

Karen McCarthy Woolf Karen McCarthy Woolf writes poetry, prose and radio drama. She is the editor of Bittersweet: Black Women’s Contemporary Poetry (1998) and Kin: New Fiction by Black and Asian Women (2004), both of which went on to form the basis of two nationwide tours. Her writing is published in numerous magazines and anthologies and she has presented her work at a variety of locations including the Purcell Room at the South Bank, the Barbican in London and in Slovenia with the British Council.  She has been on the Board of Wasafiri since 2004. Visit Karen’s website at www.karenmccarthy.co.uk.

 


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