James Murua with Carol Boyce Davies

Episode 36: Recapping March, Interviewing Carol Boyce-Davis

For the Writing Africa Podcast Episode 36, we say goodbye to Kenyan publisher Henry Chakava as we speak about awards, books, and events around African letters. We also have an exclusive interview with legendary academic Carol Boyce Davies. Remember that you can support the work we do archiving African and Black literature via PayPal, Mobile Money, or Patreon starting at $3 a month. For more information please click here.

Listen to the podcast here;

Here is what is featured in this episode;


Kenyan publisher Henry Chakava passed away at age 77 in Nairobi on Friday, March 8, 2024. Henry Chakava graduated from the University of Nairobi in 1972 and his lecturer at the Department of Literature, Professor Andrew Gurr, arranged an apprenticeship at Heinemann Educational Books in Nairobi.


We chat with Trinidad-born USA-based academic Carol Boyce Davies on the sidelines of her Nairobi tour which included a visit to two universities and attending the Safal Cornell Kiswahili Prize.


The African literary community responds to Gaza;

  • Zukiswa Wanner returns Goethe Medal
  • Maaza Mengiste, Michelle Alexander, and other writers have withdrawn from the PEN World Voices Festival


  • Tawanda Mulalu’s poetry collection Please Make Me Pretty, I Don’t Want to Die: Poems wins African Poetry Book Fund’s Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry
  • Eric Chacour’s novel Ce que je sais de toi (English: What I Know About You) won Prix des Cinq Continents de la Francophonie 2024 in Paris, France.
  • Dibakana Mankessi’s novel Psychanalyste de Brazzaville won the Grand Prix Littéraire d’Afrique Noire 2023 in Paris, France.
  • Bessora’s novel Vous, les ancêtres was announced as the winner of Prix Kourouma 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Safiya Sinclair (How to Say Babylon: A Memoir), Jonny Steinberg (Winnie and Nelson: Portrait of a Marriage) win at US National Book Critics Circle Awards 2023
  • South Africa’s Humanities and Social Sciences Awards 2024 winners – Sabata-Mpho Mokae and Brian Willian, Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vehad, Moses Seletisha, Joel Cabrita, Ashti Juggath, Joanne Hichens and Karina M Szczurek, Pieter Odendaal, Craig Higginson.
  • Lisette Lombe’s novel Eunice won the Académie royale de langue et de littérature françaises de Belgique (Royal Academy of French Language and Literature of Belgium’s) Grand Prix du Roman.
  • US NAACP Image Awards – Elizabeth Acevedo, Karida L. Brown, Charly Palmer, Krystle Zara Appiah, Dr. Tanisha C. Ford, Evie Shockley, Aleema Omotoni, Kahran Bethencourt.
  • Guyana Prize for Literature 2024 – Michael Jordan, Etherine G H Adams, Ian McDonald, Reneka Anand, Harold Bascom, Samir Mohammed.
  • Mbarek Ould Beyrouk’s novel Saara was declared the winner of Prix Littéraire Les Afriques 2023.


Magogodi Dingalo, Kossi Efoui, Chukwuebuka Ibeh, Reem Gaafar, Scholastique Mukasonga, Scholar V Akinyi, Nkateko Masinga, Michael Donkor, Inès Senghor, Shafinaaz Hassim, Alyssa Cole, Hary Rabary, Beata Umubyeyi Mairesse, Maurice Ruffin, Shubnum Khan, and Pelu Awofeso.



  • Rencontres Internationales du Livre Francophone du Rwanda 2024 Kigali, Rwanda from March 6 – 9.
  • Johannesburg Festival of Women Writers 2024 on Sunday, March 10.
  • NYrobi Comic Fest 2024, the first in the series, run at the Alliance Française Nairobi from March 12 – 15.
  • Biennale des littératures d’Afrique noire 2024 is running in the city of Bordeaux, France from March 13 – 16.
  • Time of the Writer 2024, one of South Africa’s leading literary festivals, runs in Durban from March 14 – 21.
  • Salon du Livre Africain de Paris 2024 hosted in Paris, France from March 15 – 17.


  • NGC Bocas Lit Fest 2024, Trinidad and Tobago’s leading literary festival, runs in Port of Spain from April 25 – 28, 2024
  • April 23 – 25: 72 heures du livre 2024, Conakry Guinea.






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