The University of East Anglia has appointed Booker-shortlisted Zimbabwean author Tsitsi Dangarembga as its new international chair of creative writing.
Dangarembga, shortlisted for This Mournable Body (Faber) and currently facing trial in her native country after a peaceful protest, will deliver a programme of literary events, classes and workshops across the African continent and in the UK from 2021 to 2022.
The new position will be offered to four more prominent writers over the next five years from Asia, Australasia, the Americas and the Middle East, each with a year-long remit to find, nurture and promote new voices from that region. The initiative will be complemented by Global Voices scholarships, offering 50 fully paid places on UEA’s MA course over five years.
Dangarembga said: "I am honoured to be appointed international chair of creative writing (Africa) at UEA. This position enables me to continue to pursue my long-time passion of raising awareness concerning the importance of creative writing in society in southern Africa. It is a welcome opportunity for me and emerging African writers to connect with the highly distinguished UEA programme in creative writing."
The creative writing programme, founded by Malcolm Bradbury and Angus Wilson in 1970, is marking its 50 year anniversary with a series of international events, projects and initiatives.
It includes a suite of videos celebrating the course's heritage with contributions from Tracy Chevalier, Louise Doughty, Tash Aw and Ian McEwan, who shares memories of writing his first-ever published short story on the course.
UEA Live, the university's rebranded literary festival, will hold a series of autumn events featuring stars like Lee Child, McEwan and Bernardine Evaristo. Spring highlights will include Ali Smith, Dangarembga and Anne Enright. All the autumn events will be available to watch for free from 7th October to 18th November 2020.
Professor Henry Sutton, director of creative writing, said: “UEA’s Creative Writing programme continues to go from strength to strength. These initiatives are a testament to its questioning, questing spirit for knowledge, excellence and creative expression.”
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