Transformative Testimonies: Online Events on Writing and Human Rights

By Wasafiri Editor on April 23, 2021 in

We’re excited to announce a new series of free digital events, Transformative Testimonies: Writing and Human Rights, taking place 17 – 23 May, 2021. All events are free to attend.

In December 2020, Wasafiri launched issue 104: Human Rights Cultures. This special issue explored writing in the wake of political crisis and opened up conversations and connections between literatures, writers, and creatives from four countries: Rwanda, Kenya, Colombia, and Argentina.

Transformative Testimonies will build on this special issue with a multi-country, multilingual, digital programme this May. It will unite writers from South America and East Africa in eight events that affirm the power of writing for those responding to, remembering, and healing from collective catastrophe. Guest Editors of the Human Rights Cultures issue, Billy Kahora and Zoe Norridge, have worked with Wasafiri to curate the programme of events and will feature in it, alongside such internationally renowned, award-winning writers as Scholastique Mukasonga, Inés Garland, Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, and Selva Almada, and exciting new names including Leo Boix and Daniel Ferreira.

Programme

Voices of Testimony
17-23 May | various times
Wasafiri‘s Editor and Publishing Director Malachi McIntosh will introduce the event with a collection of curated readings on remembrance, catharsis and renewal. Each work will be read in its original language by the author, subtitled in English, and videos will be released throughout the week.

More info |

 

Writing Workshops

Writing Trauma: A Life Writing Workshop with Jo Ingabire Moys and Laila Sumpton
Monday 17 May | 17:30-19:30 BST

How do you write a story of survival without re-traumatising yourself? How do you write across cultures and languages, and for different audiences? In this workshop for survivors, writers, academics and facilitators, we will explore challenges and techniques in writing stories of survival, looking in detail at stories of survival from the Rwandan genocide. Participants from Rwanda, Kenya, Colombia and Argentina are especially welcome.

This workshop is supported by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

This workshop is fully booked. To be added to the waiting list please email: wasafiri@qmul.ac.uk

More info |

Human Rights & Testimonio: Poems of Resistance and Rebellion with Leo Boix
Wednesday 19 May | 18:00-21:00 BST

What makes literature so necessary in times of flagrant human right violations, and how can poetry respond in their wake? In this workshop we will look at poets and writers who take as their subjects human rights abuses, injustices, and oppression, and at the form of testimonio as a means of defiance and rebellion.

More info |

Fiction as Testimony: Writing the Real with Billy Kahora
Thursday 20 May | 18:00-21:00 BST

Traditional conventions of fiction have always tended to pit the fictive imagination of the writer against the political and social realities of his/her place and time. This workshop will challenge writers to find ways of reconciling creative practice and lived experience.

This workshop is fully booked. To be added to the waiting list please email: wasafiri@qmul.ac.uk

More info |

Panel Events

Boundaries of Reality
Tuesday 18 May | 19:00-20:00 BST

Many modes of storytelling can be used to trace the story of a life. How do writers find the right shape for their story, and where does the boundary between truth and imagination lie? Novelist and journalist Selva Almada (Argentina), actor and filmmaker Ery Nzaramba (Rwanda), activist and documentary filmmaker Liliany Obando (Colombia) and poet and filmmaker Ngwatilo Mawiyoo (Kenya) discuss the many ways of writing a life.

Translation for this event is supported by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

More info |

Transformative Fictions
Wednesday 19 May | 19:00-20:00 BST

Can the act of writing fiction be a form of reconciliation? What does fiction allow to happen that other forms of writing do not? In this panel talk, Inés Garland (Argentina), Daniel Ferreira (Colombia), Scholastique Mukasonga (Rwanda) and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (Kenya) discuss the possibilities of healing, renewal and transformation in fiction.

Translation for this event is supported by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

More info |


The Poet as Witness
Saturday 22 May | 16:00-17:00 BST
How can poetry serve as a record of collective and individual history? We might think of a poem as a room that holds memory, trauma, and healing within it. Poets Phyllis Muthoni (Kenya), Natacha Muziramakenga (Rwanda), Leo Boix (Argentina) and Mary Grueso Romero (Colombia) discuss the poetry of witness and testimony.

Translation for this event is supported by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

More info |

The Future of Human Rights Writing
Sunday 23 May | 16:00-17:00 BST
To close the programme, Billy Kahora will facilitate a roundtable discussion between Louise Umutoni-Bower, Founder and Director of Rwanda’s Huza Press, and Carolina Orloff, the Director of UK-based Charco Press. This event will look ahead to the future of writing and human rights, and explore the importance of continuing to publish these works.

More info |



Attendees are invited to submit their questions to the participants of each talk through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

This project is funded by British Council Literature’s Working Internationally grant programme. 

This project is supported by UKRI Arts and Humanities Research Council.

 

 

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