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Science fiction comes to Africa

NEWLAND: Good work is being done by black sci-fi writers

SCIENCE FICTION is boldly going where few writers and film makers have gone before - Africa.

On November 20, the Purcell Room at London’s Southbank Centre will play host to a special event exploring the continent’s role in the genre.

The event, called Africa In Science Fiction, will consist of two parts. The first, called Universal Mind Control, is a panel discussion chaired by Toyin Agbetu of the campaign group Ligali.

It will look at how literature and poetry address the African diaspora in futuristic worlds. The panel includes the UK’s first black female sci-fi author Tosin Coker and fellow writer and Granta magazine contributor Biram Mboob. The second part, Parable of the Talents, is a film screening followed by a question and answer session. It will be chaired by Joy Francis, executive director Words of Colour and she will be joined by playwright Oladipo Agboluaje and animator Kibwe Tavares who directed the film Robots of Brixton.

Africa In Science Fiction has been put together by Toyin Agbetu and award winning author Courttia Newland who founded The Collective Word, a London based organization which campaigns for better opportunities for black and minority ethnic writers.

Newland said: “At the moment, African science fiction is the closest thing to a pure artistic vision I've come across for a long time – art being created for little or no commercial value, but simply to express some aspect of our being. That makes this a project I'm incredibly excited to be a part of. I hope that, like me, audience members who are interested in creating their own works, no matter where in the world they hail from, will be inspired to tell their stories without any thought of restriction.”

He added: “There is so much good material being produced by a wide range of writers, artists and filmmakers, all referencing some form of mythical storytelling andAfrican Cosmology, we thought it best not to be prescriptive about who is involved and create unnecessary barriers. We hope to create bigger, better and even more inclusive events of this nature in future.”

Francis added:"The Collective Word has come up with an exciting event that will give a flavour of the talent, vision and contemporary themes being reflected in both sci fi literature and film by African writers and directors. This event is only a drop in the ocean of what is being produced. Words of Colour Productions intends to work with The Collective Word to facilitate the next generation of African sci fi practitioners to hone their skills, find their voice and create their own digital platforms to showcase their work."

NEWLAND: Good work is being done by black sci fi writers

To book tickets for the event, please go to

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