After a successful outing in Nigeria last November, PenPen Africa Writers Residency is extending to Kenya. PenPen Africa is an African writers’ residency project featuring twelve select writers from across Africa in two separate Pens with six residents each in Abuja and Nairobi. The name PenPen Africa is derived from the word “Pen” and in this context is used in its duality to symbolize first the process of writing and second a place of enclosure used to house particular species. The PenPen Africa project is an initiative of the African Writers Development Trust (AWDT) targeted at promoting cultural integration among Africans, using literature, It is implemented in partnership with the Writers Guild Kenya. It is funded by Culture at Work Africa and co-funded by the European Union.
The Nigeria leg which held in Abuja and was an intensive and immersive 3 weeks in the art of creative non-fiction. Though an ultimately fulfilling time, it wasn’t all writing and learning. There were fun moments: cooking, photoshoots, movies and an excursion. The residents of the Nigeria leg who came to be fondly known as the PenPen 6, came from Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and The Gambia. With such a diverse mix, the residents had sessions where they shared their various cultures and traditions with one another.
With the second phase of the project set to take off in Nairobi, the Kenya leg also expects six participants from across east and southern Africa. They are Dismas Okombo (Kenya), Fiske Serah Nyirongo (Zambia), Hassan Kassim (Kenya), Patrick Nzabonimpa (Rwanda), Esther Musembi (Kenya) and Racheal Twinomugisha (Uganda).
We anticipate more creativity and fun as the PenPen Africa residency moves to Kenya from March 1 – 21, 2020. The residents will take classes on cultural stereotypes in storytelling, creative writing, editing, writing for the 21st-century reader, publishing, and marketing; and of course, there will be cultural exchanges, dancing, tours and other fun learning activities.
In the end, the team hopes to accomplish the set goal of bringing together African writers who will be given all they need to foster unity and promote culture.