How to Write About Africa: A Tribute to the Work of Binyavanga Wainaina

Thursday May 16, 2024 | 6:30PM – 8:00PM
Doors open at 6:00PM; conversation begins at 6:30PM

The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall
1280 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029 United States (map)


Join The Africa Center on Thursday May 16th at 6:30PM for a special conversation that explores the influential legacy of Kenyan author Binyavanga Wainaina. Mona Eltahawy, Sean Jacobs and Anderson Tepper will come together to revisit Wainaina’s body of work, his impact on African literature and reflect on their own perspectives and writing practices, fostering a greater awareness of the power and responsibility that comes with storytelling. The conversation will be moderated by Uzodinma Iweala, CEO of The Africa Center.

“How to Write About Africa” is a provocative collection of essays that dismantles stereotypes and challenges conventional narratives about the continent. This posthumous collection offers a compelling and insightful critique, urging readers to reconsider the way Africa is portrayed in literature and media.


Uzodinma Iweala is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and medical doctor. As the CEO of The Africa Center, he is dedicated to promoting new narratives about Africa and its Diaspora. Uzodinma was the CEO, Editor-In-Chief, and co-Founder of Ventures Africa magazine, a publication that covers the evolving business, policy, culture, and innovation spaces in Africa. His books include Beasts of No Nation, a novel released in 2005 to critical acclaim and adapted into a major motion picture; Our Kind of People, a non-fiction account of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria released in 2012; and Speak No Evil (2018), a novel about a queer first-generation Nigerian-American teen living in Washington, D.C. His short stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications like The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, and The Paris Review among others. Uzodinma was also the founding CEO of the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, an organization that promotes private sector investment in health services and health innovation in Nigeria. He sits on the boards of the Sundance Institute, The International Rescue Committee, and the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of Harvard University and the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and a Fellow of The Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, he lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Mona Eltahawy is a feminist author, commentator, and disruptor of patriarchy. She is founder and editor-in-chief of the newsletter FEMINIST GIANT. Her opinion essays have appeared in media across the world. Her first book Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution (2105) targeted patriarchy in the Middle East and North Africa and her second The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls (2019) took that disruption worldwide. She is a contributor to the recent anthology This Arab is Queer and is editing the anthology Bloody Hell! And Other Stories: Adventures in Menopause from Across the Personal and Political Spectrums. Her new book due 2026 is a memoir of menopause called The King Herself: How Hatshepsut Helped Me Unbecome.



Sean Jacobs is associate professor of international affairs at the Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs at The New School. He is the publisher of Africa is a Country, a site of criticism, analysis and new writing. The writer Teju Cole described Africa Is a Country as “basically the inside of my head.” His book, Media in Postapartheid South Africa: Postcolonial Politics in the Age of Globalization, was published on May Day 2019. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa, where he worked for the Institute for Democracy in South Africa and as a journalist. He has been awarded Fulbright, Shorenstein, Commonwealth, Africa No Filter, and Shuttleworth fellowships.




Anderson Tepper is curator of international literature at City of Asylum in Pittsburgh. He writes regularly on books and authors for a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and World Literature Today. His article on Wainaina, “A Provocative Satirist Left a Pervasive Legacy, Influencing African Writing,” appeared in The New York Times last May.






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