TJ Dema


An Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, as well as Botswana’s representative to the 2012 Poetry Parnassus and a recipient of a Vermont Studio Centre Writers Residency. Her poetry has appeared in Sampsonia Way, The Ofi Press, and The Hummingbird Review and was translated into Chinese for the multilingual anthology No Serenity Here. Dema runs the Sauti Arts and Performance Management.

Clifton Gachagua


Lives in Nairobi, where he was born and raised. His poetry has appeared in Kwani? 06 and Saraba. He recently finished work on a novel. He is also a scriptwriter and filmmaker, currently developing a French Nigerian feature-length film.

Tsitsi Jaji

Zimbabwe/ United States

Earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature from Cornell University. Her poetry has appeared in Bitter Oleander, Runes Review, InTensions, and the Center for Book Arts Broadside Poetry Series. She is a Mary I. Bunting Institute Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard

Nick Makoha

Uganda/ United Kingdom

Fled Uganda because of the civil war during the Idi Amin dictatorship. He has lived in Kenya and Saudi Arabia and currently resides in London. As a Spoke-Lab resident, he developed a one-man show, “My Father and Other Superheroes,” that reveals how pop culture raised him in the absence of his father. He represented Uganda in Poetry Parnassus and was one of ten writers on the program The Complete Works, a national two-year development program for black and Asian poets.

Ladan Osman

Somalia/ United States

Received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Michener Center for Writers. A 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Life in Poetry, Artful Dodge, Broadsided, Narrative Magazine, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, and Vinyl Poetry. She lives in Chicago.

Warsan Shire

Somalia/ Kenya/ United Kingdom

A poet and writer based in London. Her debut pamphlet is Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth (flipped eye). Her poems have appeared in Wasafiri, Magma, and Poetry Review and in the anthology The Salt Book of Younger Poets (Salt). Winner of the inaugural Brunel Prize in 2013 and also served as the first Young Poet Laureate of London.

Len Verwey

Mozambique / South Africa

Born in Mozambique. He is forty years old and lives in Cape Town with his two daughters. He works as an economist for an African democracy organization.