Chair: Gabeba Baderoon
Gabeba Baderoon is a poet and scholar. She is the author of the poetry collections, The Dream in the Next Body, A hundred silences and The History of Intimacy, and the monograph, Regarding Muslims: from Slavery to Post-apartheid. Baderoon is the recipient of the Daimler Prize for South African Poetry, the Elisabeth Eybers Poetry Prize, the University of Johannesburg Prize for South African Writing and two best book awards from the National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences. She is a member of the editorial board of the African Poetry Book Fund, which has published over 70 collections since 2012, and has served on the juries of the Neustadt, Glenna Luschei and Windham-Campbell Prizes. Baderoon has received writing fellowships from the Nordic Africa Institute, Civitella Ranieri, the University of Witwatersrand, the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study and the Rockefeller Centre at Bellagio. A North American edition of her award-winning collection, The History of Intimacy, was published this year by Northwestern University Press.
Tjawangwa Dema is a Motswana poet and educator. She is the 2018 recipient of the Sillerman First Book Prize for The Careless Seamstress. Her chapbook Mandible was published as part of the African Poetry Book Fund’s first New Generation Poets boxset. TJ is an alumna of the HarperCollins Author Academy and sits on multiple poetry festival/institute boards. A University of Iowa IWP honorary fellow, TJ holds an MA in Creative Writing and has given readings and facilitated workshops in multiple countries. Her poetry, and essays on poetic pedagogies, have been featured or are forthcoming in various publications, most recently New Daughters of Africa, Botswana Women Write and a Modern Language Association Options for Teaching Volume. An Honorary Senior Research Associate at the University of Bristol, Tjawangwa co-produces the Africa Writes – Bristol festival. A chapbook, coming out of a project exploring ethnicity and the environment, is forthcoming in 2022.
Tsitsi Jaji’s most recent volume of poetry, Mother Tongues (2019), received the Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Prize. She is also the author of Beating the Graves (2017) and a chapbook, Carnaval (2014), which appeared in the first New Generation African Poets box set, both from the African Poetry Book Fund. Jaji has given readings at the UN headquarters, UNESCO, and the U.S. Library of Congress, among others. She was born and raised in Zimbabwe, and her poems often evoke music, the sacred, migrancy, and ecological crisis.
She earns her living as an associate professor at Duke University. Her first book, Africa in Stereo: Music, Modernism and Pan-African Solidarity, is based on research in Ghana, Senegal and South Africa, and received the African Literature Association’s First Book Award. Her eclectic scholarly interests include Black feminism, classical music and poetry, and reimagining the American frontier myth in global Black expressive culture.