Topic: The course of history and its inflicted casualties - the struggle of the individual for autonomy and survival and its depiction in contemporary African literature.
Fred Khumalo is the author of #ZuptasMustFall and Other Rants, Bitches’ Brew (which won the European Union Literary Prize 2006 and has been taught at UCT and UJ) and Seven Steps to Heaven, now a setwork at University of South Africa. His autobiography Touch My Blood was shortlisted for the Alan Paton Prize for Non-fiction 2007. A stage adaptation of the book opened to full houses at the annual Grahamstown National Arts Festival in 2007, and was also performed at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg.
He holds an MA Creative Writing from the University of the Witwatersrand, a National Diploma in Journalism from the Durban University of Technology and was a Fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University (2011 – 2012). Having worked in the media for 28 years, he has won numerous awards for his journalistic work.
His unpublished novel Run, Run, Run was shortlisted for the inaugural Half The World Global Literati Award 2016.
He has held residencies at the Maison des Ecrivains Etrangers et des Traducteurs (The House of Foreign Writers and Translators) in St. Nazaire, France; the Academy of the Arts of the World in Cologne, Germany; the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study and the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study. His novel Dancing the Death Drill, inspired by and based upon the sinking of the SS Mendi, was simultaneously released in South Africa and the UK in February 2017, to coincide with the centenary commemoration of the historic sinking.
Folu Agoi – born Foluso Adedoyin Agoi on Tuesday, June 8, 1965, at Ipe-Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria – is a creative (and academic) writer, critic, literature activist, book editor and teacher. He attended, for his secondary education, Independence Grammar School, Ondo (1976 – 1977), St. Charles Grammar School, Osogbo, Osun State (1977 – 1978) and Lagos African Church Grammar School (LAFROGRAMS), Ifako-Agege, Lagos (1978 – 1982). He obtained his NCE (Nigeria Certificate in Education) in English and Christian Religious Studies (1986) from Lagos State College of Education, Oto/Ijanikin, Lagos; B.Ed. in English (1994) and M.Ed. in Educational Management (1997) from Ondo State University, Ado-Ekiti (now, Ekiti State University); and M.A. in English Language (2000) from the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba.
First Vice-President of PEN Nigeria (i.e. the Nigerian Centre of PEN International), erstwhile Chairman of Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Lagos Branch (March 13, 2004 – October 13, 2007), media consultant (coordinator of Bookshelf, a popular literary magazine aired on LTV Ikeja until 2011), member of the editorial team of The Sun Literary Review (2011 – 2012), winner of BBC Poetry Competition (February, 2001, with the poems ‘He Died’ and ‘I Seek a Woman’) and several other awards, including Prof Wole Soyinka Award for Literature (2007) and Mother Drum Golden Award for Excellence 2012, Agoi, whose critical essays, besides poems and book reviews, have featured in several publications – including The Sun newspaper and several other major newspapers in Nigeria, has taught English Language and Literature in some post-primary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria – including Corona Secondary School, Agbara; Greensprings School, Anthony Village, Lagos; Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (School of Part-Time Studies), Lagos; Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti (Sandwich Degree Programme; in collaboration with Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education), and the External System of Lagos State University, LASU.
He is currently a lecturer at the Department of English, School of Languages, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education (MOCPED), Epe, Lagos, Nigeria. Also a guest lecturer of English and creative writing at National Broadcast Academy, NBA (formerly Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria [FRCN] Training School), GRA, Ikeja, Lagos, his published works include:
Service to Fatherland (a collection of poems, 2013). Lagos: FLAG Publications
An Offering of Olive – An Anthology of Peace Literature (ed., 2004). Lagos: FLAG Publications
More Candid Lyrics – Another Anthology of Lyrical Poetry (2001). Lagos: FLAG Publications
Candid Lyrics – An Anthology of Lyrical Poetry (2000). Lagos: FLAG Publications
Towards Effective Use of English – A Grammar of Modern English (1999; revised in 2003 and 2006). Lagos: FLAG Publications
He has attended several local and international conferences, one of which was Christopher Okigbo International Conference – a Multidisciplinary Celebration of Christopher Okigbo’s Legacy – held from Sept 19 to Sept 23, 2007, at Harvard University, Cambridge; Boston University, Commonwealth Avenue, Boston; and University of Massachusetts, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, USA, where he delivered a scholarly paper entitled Gender in Christopher Okigbo’s Poetry.
He was one of the 7 writers from different African countries who visited Germany (Hamburg, Leipzig and Berlin) in November 2014 (from 23 to 30) on the invitation of German PEN, an event sponsored by the Foreign Office / Visitors Program of the Federal Republic of Germany. The highlights of the programme included visits to the Leipzig Institute of Literature (coordinated by Prof. Haslinger), Leipzig Bookfair (coordinated by Direktor Oliver Zille), Literaturhaus Hamburg (Programmleitung/Presse), the editors of Die ZEIT (Ulrich Greiner, Elisabeth von Thadden), and interactions with German writers (such as German PEN’s honorary presidents Günter Grass and Christoph Hein), and representatives of the Foreign Office.
Folu Agoi’s poetry, much of which is quite accessible to the ordinary mind, is based mostly on contemporary political, economic and socio-cultural issues, as they affect humanity in general. His poems, apart from trying to chronicle current events in and around his immediate environment, clamour for social reform. The use of sarcasm and humour is the hallmark of his poetry. Some of his works are published in a special electronic collection featured on the internet at www.poetry.com. The International Library of Poetry has also presented some of his poems (including ‘Of What Use Is This Goose?’, ‘Crystal Ball’ and ‘What Is Power?’) on the recording The Sound of Poetry (produced in several volumes, available on CD and cassette).
Literary Crossroads is a series of talks where South African writers meet colleagues from all over the continent and from the African diaspora to discuss trends, topics and themes prevalent in their literatures today. The series is curated by Indra Wussow and Sine Buthelezi.