CONF: Things come together?: Literary archives from, in and for Africa - University of Birmingham, 11 Sept 2018

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You are warmly invited to the annual conference of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa)


Things come together?: Literary archives from, in and for Africa


Monday, 10 September 2018, University of Birmingham




8.30    Registration


8.50    Welcome


9.00    Keynote 1:  

 Building Collections of African Literary Archives

David Sutton (Reading University Library)


9.40    Panel 1: Archives and Literary Collections

Taking Aim at Archival Practice: An Analysis of Structural and Institutional Processes that Affect Preservation, Availability and Access to Literary Archives in Malawi (tbc)

Clement Mweso (National Archives of Malawi)

South African Literary Archives after the ‘Archival Turn’: A Case Study of the Guy Butler Collection at the National English Literary Museum

Beth Wyrill (National English Literary Museum, South Africa)

African Holdings of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas at Austin

Bernth Lindfors (University of Texas at Austin)


11.10   Coffee break


11.30   Panel 2: Literary Archives in the UK Diaspora

Things We Didn’t Tell You About Because You Didn’t Ask: African Literature in the Collections of London Metropolitan Archives

Maureen Roberts (London Metropolitan Archives)

 The Visibility and Accessibility of Literary Archives for Writers and Publishers of African Descent in Britain

Kadija George (Sable LitMag)


12.30  Lunch




14.00  Keynote 2

 The Christopher Okigbo Papers: From Family Heritage to Public Archive

Sofia Dati (Christoper Okigbo Foundation)


14.40  Panel 3: Writers’ Archives

 ‘Mothy Pages Went up in Flames after that Painful Resurrection’: Wole Soyinka and Attempts to Establish his Body of Work

James Gibbs

The Buchi Emecheta Archive – The Process of Legacy-Making

Sylvester Onwordi (Buchi Emecheta Foundation)

The Bessie Head Epistolary Archive: An Essential Key to Interpreting an Enigmatic Writer

Dr Linda-Susan Beard (Bryn Mawr College) and Professor Sue Houchins (Bates College) (tbc)


16.10   Tea break


16.30  Panel 4: Diverse Forms and Formats

 The Islamic Yoruba ‘Waka’ Archive: Issues in Knowledge and Identity Generation and Perpetuation

Amidu Olalekan Sanni (Fountain University, Osogbo)

Mr. Alidu’s Sound Archive and the Politics of Preservation

Katie Young (Royal Holloway, University of London)

African Street Literatures and the Future of Literary Form

Kalle Laajala (Nordic Africa Institute), Nicklas Hållén (Uppsala University) and Mattias Åkesson (Nordic Africa Institute)


18.00  Close


SCOLMA thanks ASAUK, the University of Birmingham and Taylor & Francis for their support of the conference.

This programme is subject to change.


Conference fee £50 (£30 unwaged) to include tea/coffee and lunch.

To book a place contact Sarah Rhodes (