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Africa Through the Lens of Fiction and Film

An Africa Writes Bristol event in partnership with Afrika Eye

Fri 6 October 2017 // 18:00

Tickets: £7/ £5 concession

Panel Discussion with Kivu Ruhorahoza, Yaba Badoe, Ingrid Sinclair

1800 – 1930.

Ahead of a screening of Biyi Bandele’s recent adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s acclaimed novel Half of a Yellow Sun and Ingrid Sinclair’s short Riches, a panel of writers and filmmakers discuss the intersection of film and literature about and in Africa. How do creative processes compare and move across screen and text? How does financing work and differ for these media? What are the challenges of putting literary fiction onscreen, and what different roles have poets and novelists had in shaping filmic representations of Africa? What are the political implications of putting Africa onscreen in an era of ‘spectacle culture’ and ‘poverty porn’?

Film Programme

2000 - 2200


Director: Ingrid Sinclair,

2002, Zimbabwe, 26 mins, English

Inspired by the writer Bessie Head, Riches follows the flight of a coloured teacher, Molly McBride and her son Peter, from apartheid South Africa to an isolated school in Zimbabwe. Life in the village is tough and the villagers hostile and conservative. Molly’s clash with the hypocritical headmaster leaves her jobless and despairing, but a simple gesture of friendship from one of the poorest members of the community inspires her to fight back and claim her place within her new society.


Director: Biyi Bandele

Cast: Thandie Newton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anika Noni Rose, Joseph Mawle, John Boyega. 2013, Nigeria/UK, 107 mins, English, 15

Based on Chimamanda Adichie’s Orange Prize-winning novel, Half of a Yellow Sun follows Olanna and Kainene, twin sisters from an affluent Nigerian family, who return to Nigeria in the mid-1960s after studying in England. The sisters take wildly different paths; Olanna moves in with her lover, a revolutionary professor, while Kainene pursues a career as a businesswoman and falls in love with an English writer. As the Nigerian civil war unfolds and the Igbo people move to establish an independent Biafran state, the sisters must reconcile their differences as they join the larger struggle for independence.


Africa Writes is the Royal African Society’s annual literature festival celebrating contemporary writing from Africa and the diaspora. This is the first edition of Africa Writes Bristol, which runs 6 - 7 October 2017. See the full festival programme.