NYU Africa House PEN Festival Events
Friday May 2rd 2014

10:30am -11:30am: Writers Workshop and Book Signing with Deji Olukotun, author of Nigerians in Space.
 “Confronting African Stereotypes from Earth to Outer Space”
LOCATION: 14A Washington Mews between 5th Avenue and University Place

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1:15pm – 2:15 pm: African Musical Workshop presented by acclaimed Malian musician and Griot:  Mr. Yacouba Sissoko.
LOCATION: 14A Washington Mews between 5th Avenue and University Place

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3:30pm – 5:00pm:  Perspectives from Acclaimed African Writers & Cartoonist  Hosted by Eddie Mandhry Featuring: Deji Olukotun, Chinelo Okparanta, Godfrey “GADO” Mwampembwa,  Tope Folarin, Mukoma wa Ngugi (moderator).
Title: “Refract or Re-fracture That Image Please!”
LOCATION: Hemmerdinger Hall  in the NYU Silver Center 32 Waverly Place Between Green St and Washington Square East

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About the Authors:

Tope FolarinTope Folarin

Tope Folarin is the recipient of writing fellowships from the Institute for Policy Studies and Callaloo, and he serves on the board of the Hurston/Wright Foundation. In 2013 Tope won the Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story, ‘Miracle.’ Tope was educated at Morehouse College, and the University of Oxford, where he earned two Master’s degrees as a Rhodes Scholar. He lives and works in Washington, DC.


Godfrey MwampembwaGodfrey “GADO” Mwampembwa

Godfrey Mwampembwa, pen name Gado, is the most syndicated political cartoonist in East and Central Africa, and for over two decades a contributor to the Daily Nation (Kenya), New African (U.K.), Courier International (France), Sunday Tribune (South Africa), Le Monde, Washington Times, Des Standard, and Japan Times. He works regularly for Daily Nation (Kenya), New African (United Kingdom), Courier International (France) and Business Day and Sunday Tribune (both South Africa). He also produced cartoons for Le Monde, The Washington Times, Der Standard and Japan Times. [1]He serves as an editorial cartoonist at the Daily Nation


Mukoma Wa NgugiMukoma Wa Ngugi

Mukoma Wa Ngugi, an Assistant Professor of English at Cornell University, is the author of Black Star Nairobi (Melville, 2013), Nairobi Heat (Penguin, SA 2009, Melville House Publishing, 2011), an anthology of poetry titled Hurling Words at Consciousness(AWP, 2006) and is a columnist for This is Africa.   Mukoma holds a PHD in English from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in Creative Writing from Boston University.  Mrs. Shaw (novel) is forthcoming from Ohio U/Swallow Press.


Chinelo OkparantaChinelo Okparanta 

Chinelo Okparanta is the author of Happiness, Like Water (2013)a collection of short stories about the lives of Nigerian women at home and abroad. Happiness, Like Water has been favorably reviewed by Booklist, Shelf Awareness, Financial Times, The New York Daily News, and The New York Times Book Review, where it was chosen as an Editors’ Choice.  Okparanta’s writing has appeared in The New Yorker, GRANTA, and Tin House, among others. She has been nominated for a United States Artists Fellowship in Literature, long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and short-listed for the Caine Prize for African Writing. Her story “America” was selected as a notable story for Best American Short Stories 2013.


Deji Bryce OlukotunDeji Bryce Olukotun 

Deji Bryce Olukotun As the inaugural Ford Foundation Freedom to Write Fellow at PEN American Center, Deji Bryce Olukotun spends his days ensuring that writers all around the world are able to write honestly and freely. Just as Olukotun’s work allows him to protect and support vulnerable authors, Olukotun gives a voice to the disenfranchised in his debut novel, Nigerians in Space. Olukotun’s characters: criminals, refugees, and even a supermodel, have stories not yet heard before.Deji Bryce Olukotun graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, and also holds degrees from Yale College and Stanford Law School. He lives in New York City.


Yacouba SissokoYacouba Sissoko 

Yacouba Sissoko is a Master Kora player from the Djely griot tradition. He was born in Kita, Mali. His grandfather, Samakoun Tounkara, began teaching Yacouba when he was 12 years old. Samakoun’s wife Bintouba Diabate was a famous singer in her own right. They raised Yacouba and educated him in his griot heritage and in many lessons about life. Oumou Tounkara, his mother, was a star in the Ensemble National du Mali. Yacouba attended the Institut National des Arts du Mali in Bamako. After his graduation, he played with artists like Taye and Oumou Sacko, Haja Soumano, Djallou Demba, Ami Koita, Fantani Koure, Kandia Kouyate and l’Ensemble Instrumental du Mali. In 1993, Souleymane Koli,the leader of the Ensemble Koteba of Abidjan recruited him.

Yacouba spend the next 5 years performing all over the world with this 45-piece band. In his career, he has traveled to almost every nation on the African continent, as well as most of Europe, Canada, the US and Australia. He is in demand as one of the best kora players in the world, playing with jazz, Latin and R & B bands as well as traditional African ceremonies. As leader of his own band, Siya, and member of the group Super Mande, Yacouba continues to record with many famous musicians, including the groups Source, Tamalalou and Fula Flute.