Efemia Chela, an award-winning writer of short stories based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the Quay Words/ English PEN digital writer-in-residence for February 2021.

We were delighted to be partnering with English PEN on Efemia Chela’s residency. English PEN campaigns to protect freedom of expression whenever it is under attack, and supports writers and their families facing persecution as a result of their work. In 2021, English PEN celebrates 100 years with a new programme, Common Currency, bringing together, writers, readers and activists for a unique programme of events, residencies and workshops.

Throughout her residency, Efemia met and worked with writers at workshops and reading events. She also ran an exciting online ‘Choose your own adventure’ writing activity, based on an original story concept by Efemia about historic Exeter.

Efemia Chela is a Zambian-Ghanaian writer and editor. In 2014 her debut story, ‘Chicken’, was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2018 she was the Andrew Mellon Writer-in-Residence at Rhodes University. Her writing has appeared in places like the Johannesburg Review of Books, Pen Passages: Africa, Wasafiri and New Internationalist amongst others. She currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.