Sowmiya Ashok is a journalist based in New Delhi. She writes on politics, immigration, race, religion, social justice and gender. She is a graduate of the political reporting programme for working journalists at Columbia Journalism School. She has been a political reporter for The Hindu and has also reported for Mint. She currently reports for The Indian Express.
Madiha Aijaz is photographer and a filmmaker. Her photographic work on the Hindu temples in Pakistan was published by Niyogi Books in New Delhi (Abbasi, Aijaz, Historical Temples in Pakistan – A Call to Conscience). Her photographs and short films have been shown in India, Pakistan, United States, South Korea and South Africa.
Isaac Otidi Amuke lives and writes in Nairobi, Kenya. His reportage/nonfiction has appeared in the literary journal Kwani?, on the Commonwealth Writers blog, in Wasafiri and the New African Magazine. He contributed the title piece for Safe House; Explorations in Creative Nonfiction (Dundurn/Cassava Republic), an anthology of nonfiction from Africa edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey. He is a finalist for the 2016 CNN MultiChoice African Journalist Awards.
Caleb Ajinomoh is a freelance journalist, playwright and novelist. His short stories have been featured on The Kalahari Review, Brittle Paper, Three Penny Review, One Throne magazine, Africanwriter.com and Thenakedconvos.com. He was a finalist for the Book Doctors’ 2016 Pitchapalooza for his debut work of fiction. He is the editor-at-large for The Mustard Magazine, Africa’s leading hip hop conscious quarterly info-letter.
Boluwatife Afolabi is the author of ‘The Cartographer of Memory’ an electronic poetry chapbook published by the Sankofa Initiative. His works have appeared in Saraba Magazine, Arts and Africa, Expound magazine, African Writers etc. He is also the poetry editor at agbowo.org. He lives and writes from Ibadan, Nigeria.
Yu-Mei Balasingamchow is the co-author of Singapore: A Biography (2009), and co-editor of the literary collection, In Transit: An Anthology from Singapore on Airports and Air Travel (2016). Her short fiction has been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize (2014) and selected for Epigram Books Collection of Best New Singaporean Short Stories (2013 and 2015).
Her website is: www.toomanythoughts.org
Vrinda Baliga is a writer based in Hyderabad, India. Her work has been published in anthologies and literary magazines such as New Asian Writing, Muse India, Reading Hour, Out of Print, India Currents and Temenos. She has won prizes in the Unisun Short Story Competition 2011 and the Katha Fiction Contests 2010 and 2012.
Vidya Balachander is an Indian journalist currently based in Colombo. Formerly the features editor of BBC Good Food’s India edition, based in Mumbai, her writing has appeared in publications such as NPR’s The Salt, Roads & Kingdoms, National Geographic Traveller, Indian Express, Mint Lounge, Harper’s Bazaar India, The City Story and others.
Shakirah Bourne is a Barbadian writer and filmmaker. Her stories have been featured in several literary journals including The Caribbean Writer, Arts Etc, POUI, and Journal of Caribbean Literatures. Her first collection of short stories, In Time of Need, won the prestigious Governor General Award for Excellence in Literary Fiction in 2015. She has written four feature films: PAYDAY (writer/producer), Two Smart (writer/co-director), Next PAYDAY (writer/producer) and A Caribbean Dream (writer/director). She is currently at work on her first novel. You can find out more about her here: www.shakirahbourne.com
Gaiutra Bahadur is a Guyanese-American writer. Her book Coolie Woman, a narrative history about indenture, was shortlisted in 2014 for the Orwell Prize. Bahadur, currently a DuBois Institute fellow at Harvard, has won fellowships for creative nonfiction from the MacDowell Colony, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund. ‘The Stained Veil’ is her first work of fiction.
Vahni Capildeo is a Trinidadian British freelance writer and researcher with interests in cross-genre and collaborative work, multilingualism, performance, and place. Her most recent book, Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet, 2016) won the Forward Poetry Prize for Best Collection and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. She writes a regular report for PN Review and is a contributing adviser for Blackbox Manifold.
Antoine Cassar is a Maltese poet, translator, editor, and cultural organiser, and a creative activist for migrants’ rights and universal freedom of movement. In 2009, his composition ‘Merħba, a poem of hospitality’ was awarded the United Planet Writing Prize. For more information about Antoine visit his website: antoinecassar.wordpress.com
Smriti Daniel is a journalist based in Colombo. An Indian national, she has spent the last decade as a features writer for The Sunday Times of Sri Lanka. Her work has appeared in publications including Al Jazeera online, The Hindu, Scroll.in, Roads & Kingdoms, BusinessLine and Open. She manages social media for the South Asian edition of SciDev.Net.
Ritu Monjori Kalita Deka was born and brought up in Assam, India. ‘Greetings from a Violent Homeland’ is her first work of fiction published in an international journal. She is still learning the craft of writing and does not feel qualified to call herself a writer, although she would love to be called a reader. She lives in Pune with her husband and her son.
Lance Dowrich is a learning and development professional who has been teaching and training for over 28 years. He is the Principal and CEO of a post-secondary technical school in Trinidad and Tobago. He credits his passion for reading to his father Learie Dowrich and to a wonderful home where many clowns resided and where there was non-stop chatter.
Kevin Eze was born in Nigeria where he began writing and learning the piano at the age of seven. His stories have appeared in Writers, Writing on Conflict, Wars in Africa, Long Journeys, and in the magazine Actu’elle. He is the author of The Peacekeeper’s Wife (Amalion Publishing, 2015). He lives and writes in Senegal.
Deborah Emmanuel is a Singaporean writer, performer, and four-time TEDx speaker. Her work and dialogue has featured at festivals like the Makassar International Writers Festival, the Singapore Writers Festival, and the Queensland Poetry Festival. Her work has shown in places like Bali, Berlin, Kathmandu, London and Melbourne, and she has toured alongside poets like Sarah Kay and Anthony Anaxagorou. Deborah’s first collection, When I Giggle In My Sleep, was published by Red Wheelbarrow Books early 2015. Her foray into creative non-fiction, Rebel Rites, launched in 2016. When not in the poetry scene, Deborah makes music with her bands Wobology and The Ditha Project, and performs as an actor on stage and screen. Her most recent work experiments with moving poetry into her physical body.
Chike Frankie Edozien was raised in Lagos, Nigeria. His work as a reporter has appeared in the New York Times, The Times (UK), Quartz, Vibe magazine,Time Magazine, Out Traveler, the Advocate, and on various broadcast news outlets. He co-founded the AFRican magazine in 2001 to tell African stories overlooked by international media. In 2016 he contributed to Safe House; Explorations in Creative Nonfiction (Dundurn/Cassava Republic), an anthology of nonfiction from Africa edited by Ellah Wakatama Allfrey. When he is not teaching journalism at New York University, he’s travelling across Africa.
Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo/Tamil writer and video artist based in liminal spaces. Born in Umuahia and raised in Aba, Nigeria, Akwaeke holds two degrees, including an MPA from New York University. The Miles Morland Foundation recently awarded her a 2015 Morland Writing Scholarship for her second novel The Death of Vivek Oji, currently in progress. Her debut novel, Freshwater, is forthcoming from Grove Atlantic (Winter 2018). Read more of her work at www.akwaeke.com
Sunila Galappatti has worked with other people to tell their stories as a dramaturg, theatre director and editor. She started her working life at the Royal Shakespeare Company and Live Theatre, Newcastle and is a former Director of the Galle Literary Festival. She has worked with Raking Leaves on its Open Edit project and at Commonwealth Writers, where she was non-fiction editor at adda for the first year of the site. She is the author of A Long Watch, retelling the memoir of a prisoner of war. She lives in Sri Lanka.
Caroline Gill is a British-born aspiring author. The daughter of Vincentian emigrants, she and her family moved to Toronto in the 1970s. A love of words sparked a public relations career. She is currently working on her debut novel. Caroline holds Creative Writing Certificates from the University of Toronto and Humber School for Writers. She received the 2015 Marina Nemet Award, was published in the top three chapbook for the 2015 Penguin Random House Canada Student Award for Fiction, and was shortlisted for the 2017 Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize out of 6,000 submissions from forty nine countries.
William Maynard Hutchins is an American academic, author and translator of contemporary Arabic literature. He is currently a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.
Wendy Wongani Hara is a Malawian writer and photographer. Born and raised in Blantyre, Malawi, she is currently based in Zomba, where she is pursuing a degree in Political Science at the Chancellor College – University of Malawi. She is currently the president of the Writer’s Workshop at the University. She has two self-published digital books namely Poesia and 4YM – #keepittogether. Both can be obtained for free and the links to them can be found in the bio section of her social media, as listed below:
Tania Haberland is a poet, artist and teacher. Half Mauritian, half German, born in South Africa, she has lived in the US, UK, Germany, Italy and Saudi Arabia. Her first book Hyphen won the Ingrid Jonker Prize. She is looking for a publisher for her second collection, Other. Tania currently works between Mauritius, Milan and Cape Town as part of CreatiVita, offering services in the art of wellbeing. Like her Facebook page here: taniahaberland
Simone Haysom lives in Cape Town, sometimes. She was awarded a Miles Morland Foundation Scholarship in 2015 and is working on a book of narrative non-fiction. Her stories have appeared in the literary magazines Prufrock and Carapace, and can be found in anthologies by PEN South Africa and in the collection Safe House: Explorations in Creative Non-Fiction, edited by Ellah Allfrey.
Rola el Hussein is a Lebanese writer currently living in Loubieh. She has worked as a script writer for Al Rayyan TV and a producer for Dubai TV. Three of her poetry books have been published by dar al jaded / dar al ghawoun. Her creative writing and feature writing has been published by o2publising.com and several Lebanese newspapers. Rola plans to keep working in a variety of creative fields to develop her writing.
Kevin Jared Hosein currently resides in Trinidad and Tobago and is the Caribbean regional winner of the 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His first book, Littletown Secrets, was published in 2013. He also fiction published in magazines and anthologies, such as Lightspeed Magazine, Moko Magazine, Pepperpot, and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean. His latest book, The Repenters, was published in 2016.
Joanne C. Hillhouse is the author of the novellas The Boy from Willow Bend and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight; the children’s picture books Fish Outta Water and With Grace; the novel Oh Gad!; and the teen/young adult novel Musical Youth, a finalist for the Burt Award for teen/young adult Caribbean literature. Her writing has appeared in several Caribbean and international journals and anthologies. She freelances as a writer, editor, writing coach and workshop facilitator; and founded and coordinates the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda.
Visit her website here: jhohadli.wordpress.com
Breanne Mc Ivor is a Trinidadian author who co-founded People’s Republic of Writing (PROW), a populist group created out of the belief that writing belongs to everyone. She has been shortlisted for writing prizes including the Derek Walcott Writing Prize in 2005 and the Fish One-Page Prize in 2010. In 2015, her story ‘Kristoff and Bonnie’ won The Caribbean Writer’s David Hough Literary Prize. Her work has appeared in Origami Journal, Rock Bottom Journal, Akashic Books’ Duppy Thursdays series, and elsewhere.
Vaishali Jain is an illustrator based in Bangalore, India. She is currently pursuing her passion for film-making and creative writing at Srishti Institute Of Art, Design and Technology in Bangalore.
Sarah Jackson is a poet and academic living in Nottingham, UK. Her poetry collection Pelt (Bloodaxe, 2012) won the Seamus Heaney Prize and was the readers’ nomination for the Guardian First Book Award. She is a BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinker and Senior Lecturer at Nottingham Trent University.
Simar Preet Kaur’s writing has appeared in a range of publications including National Geographic Traveler, COLORS and Papercuts. She began as a travel writer and was the editor of in-flight magazine JetWings in Bombay before moving to the mountains. Simar received a Sangam House Fellowship in 2015. In 2016 she was awarded the Charles Wallace Fellowship at the University of Stirling, Scotland. She is working on a fiction set in the Himalayas.
Rita Kothari is Professor of Translation Studies at the Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar in Gujarat, India. She is also a scholar of Partition studies, with special focus on the region of Sindh and a large part of her writing is also engaged with Gujarat and its communalised politics, literary history and questions of language. Her well known books include Translating India : The Cultural Politics of English (St.Jerome Publishing); Chutnefying English : The Phenomenon of HInglish (with Rupert Snell, Penguin India) The Burden of Refuge ( Orient Blackswan) Decentring Translation Studies : India and Beyond (with Judy Wakabyashi, John Benjamin Press).
Neema Komba is a poet and writer from Tanzania. She is the 2014 winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature in the Flash Fiction category. She is the author of See Through the Complicated, a poetry book published in 2011. Her work ‘The Search for Magical Mbuji’ appeared in Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction, an anthology published by Commonwealth Writers in 2016. Her work has also appeared in This is Africa, a forum for African opinion, and Vijana Fm, an online youth platform.
Gloria Kiconco is a poet and essayist based in Kampala, Uganda. She has written for Writivism, The Forager Magazine, and Doppiozero’s Why Africa? She performs regularly at Poetry-in- session and other arts spaces in Kampala. You can read more of her work at otherandelse.wordpress.com
Monica Leong is a senior corporate communications manager by day and writer by night. Before entering the corporate world, she worked as editor and features writer for female lifestyle magazines: Marie Claire, CLEO, and PEARL. She is currently working on a short story and flash fiction anthology. Monica lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tina Makereti writes essays, novels and short stories. Her novel, Where the Rēkohu Bone Sings (Vintage, 2014) has been longlisted for the Dublin Literary Award and won the 2014 Ngā Kupu Ora Māori Book Award for Fiction, also won by her short story collection, Once Upon a Time in Aotearoa in 2011.
Socrates Mbamalu was born in Nigeria and grew up in Kenya. His works have appeared in Saraba Magazine, Deyu African, Kalahari Review, African Writer, Sankofa Mag, and Jalada. He is an awardee of the 2016 Saraba Nonfiction Manuscript prize: his manuscript The Kenyan Boy is due for publication as an Ebook next year.
Sharon Millar is a Trinidadian writer. She is the winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the 2012 Small Axe Short Fiction Award and her debut collection The Whale House and other stories (Peepal Tree 2015) was shortlisted for the 2016 fiction category of The OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature. Her work has appeared in publications such as Granta, The Manchester Review, and Small Axe. She is currently at work on her first novel.
Pierre J. Mejlak is a writer from Malta, who has been living in Belgium since 2004. His latest collection of short stories, Having Said Goodnight, won the European Union Prize for Literature in 2014 and is being translated into eight languages. His work has earned him the Malta National Book Award and the Sea of Words European Short Story Contest.
Orwa Al Mokdad studies journalism and works for several Syrian and pan-Arab newspapers. He has also been a reporter for Al Jazeera and BBC since the start of the Syrian insurrection, and won the Samir Kassir Award for freedom of the press. He has made several short films, including Street Music (2013), Under the Aleppo Sky (2013) and Under The Tank (2014), selected for Locarno’s section Pardi di domani – Concorso internazionale.
Author of Kingdom of Gravity (Peepal Tree Press). A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and Complete Works Alumni. Winner of the 2015 Brunel international African Poetry prize and 2016 winner of the Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his manuscript Resurrection Man. His poems appeared in The Poetry Review, Rialto, The Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. Find him at www.nickmakoha.com
Lelawattee Manoo-Rahming is a Trinbagonian poet, essayist, and fiction and creative non-fiction writer who lives in Nassau, The Bahamas. Her poetry, stories, and artwork have appeared in numerous publications in The Bahamas, the Caribbean, USA, and Europe. She has won the David Hough Literary Prize from The Caribbean Writer (2001) and the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association 2001 Short Story Competition.
Jo-Anne Mason has lived on the Caribbean island of Anguilla for twenty-five years. She has written and illustrated three children’s books about the creatures of the Caribbean and their island homes. She and her husband now sail between Anguilla, St. Martin and Nevis/St. Kitts for work and she often writes her stories on the boat. She is working on her next novel, The Short Tale of the Long Dog. She blogs at www.jo-annemasonbooks.blogspot.com
Faraaz Mahomed is a clinical psychologist and human rights researcher based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He also holds academic fellowships with the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg. A former Fulbright scholar, Faraaz’s writing is largely academic in nature, having published several journal articles relating to human rights.
Cara Marks graduated from University of Victoria, New Zealand and is currently at the University of East Anglia on the Creative Writing Prose Fiction MA as a recipient of their North American Bursary. Her short stories have been published widely, including: Vol. 1 Brooklyn, This Side of West, The Nervous Breakdown, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and Nudity House. She has poetry forthcoming in Highway Magazine, her short story **** was recently longlisted in the 2016 Mogford Prize for Literary Food and Drink. She was the recipient of the Hazel Partridge-Smith Scholarship in Creative Writing in 2015.
Kelechi Njoku is a former radio broadcaster, now an editor and ghost-writer. He is the 2014 West Africa Regional Prize winner of the Writivism Short Story Competition; he was shortlisted in Africa Book Club’s Short Reads (2014) and Naija Stories’ Best Short (2013), and he has also contributed fiction to the Kalahari Review, Nigerians Talk LitMag, Open Road Review, and Aerodrome. He lives in Lagos and Abuja.
Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani is a Nigerian novelist, journalist and essayist. Her debut novel, I Do Not Come to You by Chance, won the 2010 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book (Africa), a Betty Trask First Book Award, and was named by the Washington Post as one of the Best Books of the Year. Her writing has appeared in scores of publications around the world, including the New York Times, the New Yorker and the Guardian. Nwaubani works as a part-time Nigeria correspondent for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, and writes a regular column for the BBC’s ‘Letters from Africa’ section. Her debut Young Adult novel, Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree, will be published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in fall 2018.
Ella Otomewo is a performance poet based in Manchester. She facilitates creative writing workshops and has performed at numerous spoken word events up and down the country, as well as appearing in ‘Other Voices’ at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. She is part of Young Identity, a spoken word collective based in Manchester that uses performance to expose young people’s issues, and was also chosen to be part of Words First, the BBC’s first spoken word season in collaboration with Roundhouse Theatre; writing and performing with other poets in her region. Ella’s work is feminist, candid, and reflective.
Bridget Pitt is a South African writer, environmental activist and art teacher who was born in Zimbabwe and lives in Cape Town. Her fist published writing was for grassroots newspapers, which was part of the anti-apartheid struggle during the 1980s. Her crime fiction novel The Unseen Leopard was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2011, and for the 2012 Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa.
Tanjil Rashid is a reporter for the BBC in London. He has written about literature, politics and the arts for the Financial Times, the Guardian and Prospect, and his short stories have been published in Story Quarterly and Hourglass. His other interests include literary translation. He is one of the Goethe Institut’s Emerging Translators of 2017 and was shortlisted for the Harvill Secker Young Translators Prize in 2016.
Mary Rokonadravu is a Fijian writer. She ran a prison writing programme in seven correctional facilities in Fiji’s capital, Suva, for four years, and edited the Pacific’s first anthology of prison writing, shedding silences, in 2008. She won the 2015 Regional Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Pacific) and was shortlisted in 2017. Her dream is to contribute to the growth of a vibrant Pacific islands writing and publishing sector – and to Pacific islanders reading and valuing their own stories and voices.
Stephanos Stephanides is a poet, essay and memoirist, translator, cultural critic, documentary filmmaker, and professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Cyprus. Selections of his poetry have been published in more than twelve languages. He was awarded first prize for poetry from the American Anthropological Association, 1988, and first prize for video poetry for his film Poets in No Man’s Land at the Nicosia International Film Festival. He was a judge for the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Eurasia Region, 2000, 2010) and is a Fellow of the English Association, Cavaliere of the Republic of Italy. Representative publications include Translating Kali’s Feast: the Goddess in Indo-Caribbean Ritual and Fiction (2000), Blue Moon in Rajasthan and other poems (2005). He was born and lives in Cyprus.
Stefanie Seddon grew up on a farm in New Zealand and moved to the UK after completing a degree in English Literature at the University of Otago. Stefanie is currently studying the MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London, and is working on a novel inspired by the high country landscapes and rural communities of her native New Zealand.
Sadaf Saaz is a poet, writer, entrepreneur and women’s rights advocate. She grew up in the UK, where she studied Molecular Biology at Cambridge. She now lives in Dhaka, where she is involved in a range of initiatives as a cultural activist and curator. She is a festival director and the producer of the annual Dhaka Literary Festival (previously Hay Festival Dhaka), which she co-founded in 2011. She is the author of a collection of poems Sari Reams, and her monologues based on Bangladeshi women’s experiences, Je Kotha Jai Na Bola (That which cannot be said), have been performed in various locations in Bangladesh. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies and international literary journals including Wasafiri, Index on Censorship, Critical Muslim, Weber and Bengal Lights.
Jasmine Sealy is a Barbadian- Canadian writer of short fiction. In 2014 she was short- listed for the CBC Quebec Writing Competition. She has been previously published in Salut King Kong: New English Writing from Quebec (2014) and the Emerge Anthology (2016). She lives in Vancouver and is a graduate of the The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
Bina Shah is a writer of English fiction and journalist living in Karachi, Pakistan. She is the author of four novels and two collections of short stories. She is a regular columnist for the International New York Times, the Dawn, the Huffington Post, Al Jazeera, and has written for the Independent and the Guardian. Her fiction and non fiction essays have been published in Granta, Wasafiri, the Istanbul Review, Bengal Lights, Asian Cha, and Critical Muslim.
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of the novels Loaded (1995), The Jesus Man (1999), Dead Europe (which won The Age Book of the Year – Novel in 2005) and The Slap (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009). He is also a scriptwriter, filmmaker, essayist and film critic. His works for theatre include Dead Caucasians, Non Parlo di Saló and The Trauma Report.
Mark has spent his working life in advertising, winning over thirty local and international advertising awards. He is currently creative director at a leading Cape Town agency. Mark’s first novel, An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Absolutely Everything, was published in 2013, and his second, Wasted, in 2015. His third novel, The Safest Place You Know, will be published in September 2016.
Jessica’s short fiction, essays and poetry have been published in Southerly, Island, The Review of Australia Fiction and Overland. Her first novel, A Curious Intimacy, won a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist award, was shortlisted for the Dobbie prize and the Western Australia Premier’s awards, and longlisted for the international IMPAC award. Her second novel, Entitlement, was also published by Penguin in 2012.
D. W. Wilson is a Canadian author born in Cranbrook, British Columbia. He is the author of Once You Break a Knuckle, a short story collection, and Ballistics, a novel. His fiction and essays have appeared in literary journals on both sides of the Atlantic, including Grain, TNQ, The Malahat Review, and Prospect.
Sidra Zia is a teacher of history and a marketer in limbo. Her avid obsession with tea and the seaside often takes her far from her hometown of Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously been published in local publications, and echoes the simplicity of her lifelong motif; if you see food, you eat food.