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 is New and Selected Poems published by Carcanet.

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Gary McKeone

Gary McKeone was Literature Director at Arts Council England from 1995-2006. Before that he worked with Field Day Theatre Company in Ireland and at the Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank.

He is currently Chair of the Poetry Archive and the recently created Poetry Translation Centre and is also involved with a number of other literature organisations in England. Originally from Derry, Northern Ireland, he has written for The Guardian and Independent and currently works as Programme Director at St George’s House in Windsor.

He joined the Wasafiri board in 2007.

Denise DeCaires Narain

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.

Zoe Norridge

Zoe Norridge is a Lecturer in English and Comparative Literature at King’s College London. Her research currently focuses on cultural responses to genocide in Rwanda. In April 2014 she curated the exhibition “Rwanda in Photographs: Death Then, Life Now” for the twentieth commemoration with Mark Sealy MBE in the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House East Wing.

Selected as a BBC “New Generation Thinker” in 2011, her Radio 3 documentary “Living With Memory in Rwanda” won a Gold New York Festivals International Radio Program Award. Her earlier comparative work on suffering was published in the monograph Perceiving Pain in African Literature (2013). Zoe joined Wasafiri in 2014.

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

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.

Sukhdev Sandhu

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 Statesman, Süddeutsche 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).

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.

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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.

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