The 2015 Kampala Writers’ Festival

Dates: October 6-12, 2015
Faculty: Rebecca Brown (nonfiction), Beatrice Lamwaka (fiction), Ife Piankhi (poetry).
Location: Pan-African Freedom Square
Registration: Apply now to study poetry, fiction, or nonfiction. Tuition is free for accepted participants.

Join us for the first-annual Kampala Writers’ Festival, a week-long intensive workshop for writers. Featuring three faculty members—literary fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction/memoir writing—and with a with a focus on community and rigorous attention to craft, the Kampala Writers’ Festival features core morning workshops, afternoon panels and discussions, and vibrant readings and open-mikes.


Tuesday, October 6
1-3: Welcome gathering and introductions
ssekandi3-4: Opening Invocation
7: Open mike

Wednesday, October 7
10-1: Morning class session with faculty member
2-3: Afternoon panel

Thursday, October 8
10-1: Morning class session with faculty membercab2
2-3: Afternoon panel

Friday, October 9
Independence Day (free day)

Saturday, October 10
10-1: Morning class session with faculty member
2-3: Afternoon panel
7: Open mike

Sunday, October 11
Writing day.

Monday, October 12
10-1: Morning class session with faculty member
2-3: Afternoon panel
7: Farewell gathering.


beatrice lamawakaBeatrice Lamwaka is the General Secretary of the Uganda Women’s Writers Association (FEMRITE) and a free lance writer with Monitor Newspaper, UGPulse and the Press Institute. She is currently studying MA in Human Rights in Makerere University. This year, she was Laureate for Council for the Development of Social Science (CODESRIA) Democratic Governance Institute. She was a Finalist for the PEN/Studzinski Literary Award 2009, and a Fellow for the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation/African Institute of South Africa Young Scholars program 2009. She has worked as a researcher and teacher in Uganda. In Italy and Sudan, she worked with an international humanitarian agency. She writes poetry, short stories and is working on her memoir, The Market Vendor and a collection of short stories, The Garden of Mushrooms.

Class Description:
In this workshop, we will actively create, and re-create from the heart, believable characters, hence deepening their stories and exploring ideas of gender and landscape. We shall have a series of exercises to examine various techniques of the writing craft, deepening our characters. Participants will be expected to read  from their work and participate in discussion of other participants’ stories to improve them.

rebecca brownRebecca Brown’s latest book, American Romances (City Lights 2010), is a collection of gonzo essays that put Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys) and Hawthorne on the same page and reveals the secret sex life of H. G. Wells’ The Invisible Man. It won the Publishing Triangle’s Judy Grahn award for nonfiction in 2010. Her previous books with City Lights include The Last Time I Saw You(2005) and The End of Youth, (2003). Her book Excerpts From A Family Medical Dictionary (Granta, UK and University of Wisconsin Press, USA) was published in February of 2004. She is also the author of The Gifts of the Body, The Terrible Girls, Annie Oakley’s Girl, The Haunted House, The Children’s Crusade, and What Keeps Me Here. Her work has been awarded the Boston Book Review Award for fiction, The Lambda Literary Award, The Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, and a Washington State Governor’s Award and a Stranger Genius Award.

Class Description:
How much can we determine who we are?  How much can we know who we are, much less anybody else?  Writers have been trying to understand and say something about who they are, or think they are, as well as one another, for as long as we have had writing. In this class we will look at the work of some prior writers to see how they considered notions of gender, nationality, age, race, economic and family structure and sheer invention in creating identities of their characters and themselves.  Whether a writer writes in the genre of a newspaper articles, memoir, essay, collage, biography, autobiography, lyric essay or whatever, whether she or he or whomever is male or female or whatever, or lived in the l6th century or now or somewhere a future we imagine, in Vietnam or Kansas or Somalia, we each and all have lives that are worth our telling. In this class we will try out different genres of the written word to see what we can learn and write about ourselves and who we might imagine being and everyone else.  We’ll read, write, talk, listen, think and become.  

ife2Ife Piankhi is a versatile artist who has collaborated with artists such as Keko, Nneka, Mamoud Guinea, Geoff Wilkinson, Michael Franti, Jonzi D, Wynton Marsalis, and Floetry to name but a few. Ife has toured internationally for the past 22 years, visiting Canada, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Zanzibar, Zambia, Romania, Italy, the Netherlands, Uganda, and the United States. Her music and poetry is influenced by African stories of migration, relocation and the search for identity. A formidable educator and creative facilitator, Ife fuses her knowledge of ancient Africa, esoteric teaching and environmentalism with her music/poetry which is a rich blend of jazz, reggae, and soul.  Seeing the need for different performance platforms for emerging Ugandan artists, Ife created Ife’s Fusion Party (Tilapia, Bunga) and Triple C (Kawa Lounge, Nakumatt).

Class Description:
Be guided through creative routines/exercises to explore feelings, activate the imagination and open the heart in order to bring our inner landscape to life on paper. We’ll explore identity and how we have been confined within societal gender roles. How do we explode those to discover our authentic voice through confronting our fears of becoming our own selves?

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