“Long Talk”: Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor & Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Their conversation, “The Root of Nations,” will re-examine what it means to formulate a state via the incredibly important but rarely considered female gaze.
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Jennifer Makumbi by Danny Moran.

Jennifer Makumbi by Danny Moran.


On Sunday 21st February 2021 at 2pm GMT+1, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi and Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor will re-examine what it means to formulate a state.

“The Root of Nations” was conceived under the pressing need to reconsider what a country might be defined as, and what is possible when one repaints the histories and origins of an African country via the incredibly important but rarely considered female gaze.

Moving away from the regular trope of the “founding fathers,” Owuor and Makumbi, who have both written books that critically assess the origin of nations (Kenya and Uganda, respectively), will be in conversation, exposing us to the anxieties, insights, and stories that birthed their projects.

About the Speakers

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan fiction writer. Her first novel, Kintu, won the Kwani? Manuscript Project in 2013. Her second book is a collection of short stories, Manchester Happened (for the UK & Commonwealth publication)/Let’s Tell This Story Properly (for US/Canada), that came out in Spring 2019. It was shortlisted for The Big Book Prize: Harper’s Bazaar. Her third book, The First Woman (for UK/Commonwealth)/A Girl is a Body of Water (for USA/Canada), came out in Autumn 2020.

Makumbi is a recipient of the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize 2018. She won the Global Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 for her short story, “Let’s Tell This Story Properly.” She is a Cheuse International Writing Fellow (2019) and is currently at the KNAW-NAIS Residency (2021). She has a PhD from Lancaster University and is a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor is a Kenyan author, lecturer, and arts curator. Her first novel, Dust, was published by Knopf in 2014, and received the 2015 TBC Jomo Kenyatta Literature Award. Her second novel, The Dragonfly Sea, was published in 2019 and was a REAL SIMPLE BOOK of the year. In 2003, she won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her story “Weight of Whispers,” also the title of a 2003 volume.

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This conversation will be moderated by Ndinda Kioko.

About “Long Talk”

“Long Talk” is a series we began because of the need for Black intellectual exchange on the African continent but also in the world at large. Our hope is to, with these series of conversations across intimate diasporas, create the largest and most important archive of Black discourse in our time.

We’ve organized two of these talks, and we’ve already brought together Pulitzer Prize-, Windham-Campbell Prize-, Forward Prize-, and Sillerman Book Prize- winning writers.

Attendees have so far come from all over the world including Botswana, Kenya, Belgium, Ghana, the UK, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, and the US.

This talk is organized with support from Prestige Books and Jahazi Press.

Click here to register for this event.

A Long House
A Long House is a new frontier for Black thought, stories, and critical discourse, which seeks through art, aesthetic, and language to center Blackness as a form of long memory.
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