We’re pleased to announce that Billy Kahora is the Quay Words writer-in-residence at Exeter Custom House for Spring 2024.
See below for the events that Billy has planned to engage with the theme of Heritage. Here are his thoughts being selected for the residency:
“I can’t thank Literature Works enough for this opportunity which will continue rooting my writing in the South West while also helping me stay in touch with that of the African continent through the work of visiting poet Olive Olusegun.”
About Billy Kahora
Billy Kahora has written a non-fiction novella titled The True Story Of David Munyakei (2010) and a short story collection, The Cape Cod Bicycle War (2019). His story Urban Zoning was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for Africa Writing in 2012, The Gorilla’s Apprentice in 2014. He wrote the screenplay for Soul Boy and co-wrote Nairobi Half Life which won the Kalasha awards. His short fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared in
Chimurenga, McSweeney’s, Granta Online, Internazionale, Vanity Fair and Kwani. He has just completed a novel titled Babilon Falling. He is currently a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Bristol and is also a founding partner of Saseni! a creative writing teaching platform leading writing workshops in East Africa and Bristol. He recently co-edited an issue of Wasafiri around Human Rights Cultures.
He was Managing Editor of Kwani Trust, a Nairobi based literary network and edited 7 issues of the Kwani journal and other Kwani publications including Nairobi 24 and Kenya Burning. He was also Kwani Litfest Curator between 2008 – 2017 curating several chapters of the festival – in 2015 he curated Kwani Litfest: Writers In Conversation: Beyond The Map Of English. During his time at Kwani? he extensively curated numerous events and workshops including Kwani? @ Performa in New York. He has recently moderated events at Africa Writes Exeter in 2021-2023 talking to writers such Irenosen Okojie and Leila Abouleila.
Billy is a past recipient of the Chevening Scholarship, an Iowa Writer’s Fellowship and recently the President’s award at the University of Manchester where he received his PhD in Creative Writing in November 2023. He has been awarded Writers fellowships in Italy, U.K, Germany, Denmark and South Africa.
Writing Voice: Enhancing Speech Forms in Your Work
Saturday 9th March • 2-4pm
In this workshop, Billy will discuss strategies to enhance the sense of the spoken in your fiction to anchor it in the specific rhythms of place and setting.
with visiting International Writer-in-Residence Olive Olusegun
Sunday 24th March • 6.30-8.30pm
Olive and Billy will perform and read from their work, followed by a conversation and Q&A to discuss shared themes that have arisen during their time in residence at Exeter Custom House. They will explore the season theme of heritage in relation to their work, the individual, and wider social and political context of their respective African ancestry.