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February 8, 2017

February 8, 2017







Amiable with

Big Teeth:

7 Important Books

from the

Harlem Renaissance




In the first half of the twentieth century, the Harlem Renaissance resulted in an array of outstanding and groundbreaking art, literature, and music that still resonates with audiences today. A number of prominent black artists and intellectuals congregated in Harlem, leading to one of the most significant creative scenes in American cultural history. Some of the writers affiliated with this milieu, including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston, remain widely read by a variety of readers today.

A recently-discovered manuscript by Claude McKay is being published decades after it was first written. Here’s a look at that book and several others from some of McKay’s contemporaries. Those looking to learn more or delve deeper into this period of literary (and cultural) history may be interested in the Library of Congress’s archive of materials related to the Harlem Renaissance. The Academy of American Poets also has an overview of the movement’s impact on poetry.

  • The cover of the book Amiable with Big Teeth

    Amiable with Big Teeth

    Claude McKay

    It’s not often that a finished novel by a major literary figure is discovered in archives more than half a century after his death. But that’s precisely what happened with this rich, finely-written novel by Claude McKay. Political conflicts drive the book forward: the novel’s full title is Amiable With Big Teeth: A Novel of the Love Affair Between the Communists and the Poor Black Sheep of Harlem. It’s set in the mid-1930s, during a time when Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia has captured the attention of many in Harlem, and political clashes stemming from Communist infighting play themselves out in a corner of New York society.

  • The cover of the book Cane


    Jean Toomer

    It can be argued that Jean Toomer’s Cane was ahead of its time: it boldly shifted between literary forms in a single work, incorporating prose, poetry, and drama into an overall narrative showing different aspects of black life in the southern United States. The work itself is a fascinating array of styles and characters, and the life of its author was also fascinating: a 2010 New York Times article called Toomer “perhaps the most enigmatic writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance.”

  • The cover of the book Mules and Men

    Mules and Men

    Zora Neale Hurston

    Zora Neale Hurston’s bibliography encompassed acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. Her 1935 book Mules and Men is an ethnographic narrative, in which Hurston gathered stories and folktales from residents of Florida and Louisiana. It’s a book that continues to influence writers today. In 2015, novelist Angela Flournoy spoke about its impact on the process of writing her own novel The Turner House in an interview with The Atlantic.

  • The cover of the book God's Trombones

    God’s Trombones

    Seven Negro Sermons in Verse

    James Weldon Johnson

    James Weldon Johnson’s influence on culture and society was vast: in addition to being an acclaimed writer, he was also a leader of the NAACP, and worked as a diplomat in the early years of the 20th century. One of his major literary works is God’s Trombones, in which the literary traditions of the sermon and poetry converge in innovative and groundbreaking ways. In more recent decades, a stage adaptation has added another permutation to Johnson’s work.

  • The cover of the book The Weary Blues

    The Weary Blues

    Langston Hughes

    Langston Hughes’s written works include acclaimed collections of poetry, novels, and short stories. His first book of poetry was 1926’s The Weary Blues, in which some of his most acclaimed works were collected. In a recent piece on The Weary Blues, poet and essayist Kevin Young wrote about how Hughes adapted aspects of the blues into poetry, and noted that it was “one of the high points of modernism and of what has come to be called the Harlem Renaissance.”

  • The cover of the book Quicksand


    Nella Larsen

    Nella Larsen’s autobiographical first novel Quicksand dealt with the emotional and familial conflicts experienced by a young biracial woman early in the 20th century. The novel’s protagonist travels throughout the United States and Denmark in search of a place where she feels at home. This was one of two novels that Larsen wrote in her lifetime; after a period when her work was largely out of print, her books received newfound attention in the late 20th century.

  • The cover of the book Countee Cullen: Collected Poems

    Countee Cullen: Collected Poems

    (American Poets Project #32)

    Countee Cullen

    Countee Cullen’s poetry addressed urgent personal and societal concerns while simultaneously  utilizing formal techniques. Some of his works remain widely anthologized to this day; others are more obscure. This collection brings together his body of work as a poet, though he also occasionally worked in prose. And, as an editor, Cullen also assembled the poetry anthology Caroling Dusk, in which the work of several of his contemporaries appears.





FEBRUARY 10, 2017

FEBRUARY 10, 2017










barry jenkins

On the heels of the 8 Oscar nominations for his much-loved sophomore feature film “Moonlight,” also hailed by critics as the best film of 2016 and lavishly praised with over 140 awards, including the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Drama, it’s certainly fair to say that writer/director Barry Jenkins is having a *moment* – a much deserved spotlight a decade or so in the making (counting his short films prior to his debut feature, “Medicine for Melancholy”); although an argument could be made that it’s a lifetime in the making, as our life experiences inform how we each grow and evolve through time.

On January 26, Mr. Jenkins graced the International Film Festival Rotterdam: IFFR with his film and his presence, where he participated in a program titled “Masterclass: Barry Jenkins” – an hour-long conversation and Q&A during which the filmmaker spoke in depth about his work (shorts and 2 features), his vision as a writer and director, the trials and triumphs of filmmaking (especially the kind of art he aims to create), his skyrocketing success, and much more.

It’s an enlightening, entertaining “Masterclass” that you will find engaging and educational, even learning some behind-the-scenes facts that may not have been widely known previously; for example, he shares that his first feature, “Medicine Melancholy,” was made for an astoundingly low $13,000! He also discusses how he raised the funds, and breaks down how the money was allocated.

A groundbreaking film on many levels, “Moonlight” is based on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” Jenkins studied Film at Florida State University and directed several shorts, of which the majority are included in the Black Rebels program at the IFFR this year. The emotional reception to “Moonlight” by many viewers resonates with Jenkins’ own experience: “That means the world to me, because I know what it’s like to feel voiceless and unseen. When we don’t see images outside of ourselves, we feel invisible,” he states.

Watch “Masterclass: Barry Jenkins” in full below:



January 31, 2017

January 31, 2017











By John Freeman


Novelist Nadifa Mohamed was born in Hargeisa, Somalia and moved to Britain at the age of five. She is a graduate of Oxford and the author of two books, Black Mamba Boy, and Orchard of Lost Souls, the latter of which is set in Somalia on the cusp of a civil war. We asked Mohamed how Trump’s Muslim immigration ban might effect her, and its broader significance to lives around the world.

How has the executive order effected you, and how do you feel?
It’s hard to tell yet how it will effect me, there has been so much confusion that I’m not clear whether I am banned or not. It was Mo Farah’s statement that he was unable to return to his home in Oregon, because he was born in Mogadishu, that made me realize that, as I was born in Somalia, I would be unwelcome too. It seems as if there has been a deal struck today between the British and American governments to exclude British passport holders with dual nationality from the ban, but everything is still very uncertain. It has made me wary of traveling to the US, to be honest, and it’s pretty sad as this time last year I was about to go to New York to interview Toni Morrisonand I was so immersed in African-American literature and life.

So in the past, if you held a Somali passport, give me an idea of how one would get into the United States on a visit.
I have never tried to get into the US with a Somali passport, and I actually don’t even have Somali citizenship. I am entitled to a Somaliland passport but as it is an unrecognized country I think there are only about two countries that accept it as a valid traveling document. For Somalis to legally and easily travel they need a foreign passport, that is why so many of them try the illegal route across the Sahara and Mediterranean. The US is particularly difficult to enter and Somali refugees in Kenyan camps are put through strenuous, lengthy checks lasting many years before they are cleared for resettlement in America.

Have any of your friends or family ever been turned back at borders, what happened to them?
Not from the US, but from European states, yes—one of them was severely beaten by police in eastern Europe and hospitalized.

How are you typically treated by border guards coming
in and out of 
the United States?

It is an impersonal, bureaucratic exercise in distrust. The dreaded SSSS is stamped on my boarding pass and my hand luggage is searched again at the departure gate, I have to take off my shoes and be frisked again, there is no answer given when I ask the border agents why, just that I should ask the TSA when I land. Traveling within the US and out from there causes me no problems so by the time I land I just want to get on with my trip, and do not ask any questions. I presume it’s my name, where I was born, how I look, but it’s very frustrating to be constantly treated with suspicion, whether the danger is terrorism, drug smuggling, ebola, you become the site of other people’s fears. It’s almost funny the number of threats people see as I pass but it means I can be treated as guilty when I have done nothing wrong, my own identity—beliefs, experiences, qualities—do not matter. It’s not just the US either, for Somalis being Black, Muslim and from a notorious “war zone” creates real difficulties in many countries, from Europe to the Middle East to Africa.

Did the United States represent any kind of beacon to you, and if not, do you think the world has a beacon for freedom and human rights—if it doesn’t, where does that leave us?
No, it doesn’t and I can’t think of anywhere that is a beacon for freedom and human rights. There are some places that really do not have any pretense of caring about either, but the vast majority of countries seem to espouse freedom and equality while not quite living up to those ideals.

Feature image: Sabreen Hussain



 10 November 2016

10 November 2016




10 Game-Changing

Feminist Thinkers


By Lily Cichanowicz 

Feminism means a lot of different things, depending on whom you ask. The movement has endured plenty of scrutiny, but there is no doubt that its endurance has done a lot to transform the world in ways that benefit everyone. In particular, we can credit the leaders of this movement who, despite the great adversity they experienced for their ideas, introduced entirely new ways of thinking about gender, sexuality, and oppression. These people have challenged us, and they have liberated us. Here are 10 game changing feminist thinkers.



Audre Lorde

Born in 1934, Audre Lorde was a CaribbeanAmerican writer and self-described, ‘black, lesbian, warrior, mother, poet.’ She dedicated her life’s work to confronting issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. Specifically, she explored the societal tendency to create identity categories and marginalize people based on them. She was especially critical of white America’s—and particularly, white women’s—persistent blindness to their own forms of privilege. Lorde’s writing helped to raise awareness about the ways these kinds of identity prejudices play out in daily life, and she encouraged her readers to react against it. Her work is prolific, and its subject matter serves as a fundamental element of contemporary feminist thought.

Audre Lorde | © Rooturu/WikiCommons

Audre Lorde | © Rooturu/WikiCommons


bell hooks

Gloria Jean Watkins is primarily known as bell hooks, a pen name derived from her great grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks . She is a postmodern feminist thinker and writer whose work focuses on issues of capitalism, race, and gender. Namely, her writing serves to highlight the ways these three factors interact, and she asserts that they are driving forces of oppression within society. She also discusses the ways that mainstream feminism lacks diversity, a critique that has ultimately caused a new wave of feminism to take form. bell hooks is particularly well known for her informal writing style. She deviates from the traditional academic format in an effort to be more inclusive to a broader audience.

bell hooks | © Montikamoss/WikiCommons

bell hooks | © Montikamoss/WikiCommons


Patricia Hill Collins

Patricia Hill Collins is a black feminist epistemologist who is largely known for her critique of scientific institutions. She asserts that these institutions, the purveyors of so-called ‘knowledge’ in western society, are monopolized by a very specific demographic, (i.e. white men). She discusses how this fact impacts society at large, with particular damage occurring to members of marginalized demographic groups. Collins proposes that scientists ought to recognize the way their social standpoints come into play as they conduct research, and that they abandon the notion that their work exists within a vacuum. Further, she suggests that scientific institutions opt for more diverse peer review panels.

Patricia Hill Collins | © Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil/WikiCommons

Patricia Hill Collins | © Valter Campanato/Agência Brasil/WikiCommons


Anne Fausto-Sterling 

Anne Fausto-Sterling is a biologist and geneticist that challenged our very notions of biological sex, a feminist critique that extended beyond those which are more commonly limited to gender. Her research demonstrates that there are actually five biological sexes, rather than two. When intersex babies are born, doctors assign the baby a gender based on their own socially formed judgments about what the baby’s genitals seem to be. From here, she goes on to explain that babies learn gender and behavior after being born. Therefore, gender is not actually a biological phenomenon but a social one. Her work also includes a discussion on western medicine’s tendency to apply societal notions of gender and sex to the rest of the body.


Simone de Beauvoir 

Known for her intellectual brilliance, Simone de Beauvoir is the famed companion of existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre. She first emerged on the scene of feminism in her native country of France after the publication of her seminal work, The Second Sex in 1949. In this book, she explains how society defines woman as the object or ‘other,’ and man as the subject. This conceptualization has vast repercussions in terms of our identities and interactions, things that play out on a macro level and ultimately affect culture as a whole. She was a pioneer in the realms of feminist theory at large, as well as feminist existentialism.

Simone de Beauvoir with Antonio Nuñez, Che Guevara, and Jean-Paul Sarte | © Alberto Korda

Simone de Beauvoir with Antonio Nuñez, Che Guevara, and Jean-Paul Sarte | © Alberto Korda


Andrea Dworkin & Catharine MacKinnon 

Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon were feminist theorists and friends who worked to challenge the social acceptance of pornography. They redefined what the act of sex means within gendered interactions that are inherently political and hierarchical. Their main claim in this regard was in opposition to the idea that rape is an act of violence. Instead, Dworkin and MacKinnon extended this notion further by claiming that all heterosexual sex is violent. They went on to explain that pornography is a mechanism within society used to normalize the objectification and brutalization of all women. Together, they were able to pass legislation that framed pornography as a violation of women’s civil rights.

Catharine MacKinnon | © Crunk~commonswiki/WikiCommons

Catharine MacKinnon | © Crunk~commonswiki/WikiCommons


Sarojini Naidu

The first female president of the Indian National Congress and Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Sarojini Naidu was a poet and feminist thinker in India. Naidu is considered a child prodigy for her poetry abilities, entering university at the age of 12. She set out to abolish the purdah, a garment similar to a burqa, and in 1917 she helped found the Women’s India Association. In addition to her commitments to feminism, she also was an important figure in India’s independence from Britain, and an associate of Gandhi. Known as The Nightingale of India, Naidu is renowned for her fierce commitment to activism and was even imprisoned for 21 months of her life.

Sarojini Naidu with Gandhi | © Unknown/WikiCommons

Sarojini Naidu with Gandhi | © Unknown/WikiCommons


Betty Friedan 

Betty Friedan is the author of The Feminine Mystique, a novel released in 1963 that is said to have helped launch the Women’s Rights Movement of the 1970s. The book discusses the unnamable phenomenon of women in industrial societies that put their husbands’ careers and education ahead of their own, and were subsequently vulnerable as homemakers in the wake of death or divorce from their husbands. She believed this way of life was stifling for women and empowered them to gain some independence of their own. With a background in psychology, Friedan challenged many of her predecessors’ work, including Freud, in diagnosing women with conditions like hysteria or ‘penis envy.’

Betty Friedan | © Fred Palumbo/WikiCommons

Betty Friedan | © Fred Palumbo/WikiCommons


Kimberlé Crenshaw 

Kimberlé Crenshaw coined the term ‘intersectionality,’ a concept that completely shifted the way we understand feminism today. A movement that has long been dominated by the voices and perspectives of educated white women, feminism has been reforming itself into a more inclusive and diverse coalition of people with many different perspectives. Specifically, intersectionality refers to the idea that people’s experiences vary greatly depending on the intersection of their race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, degree of ability, and so on. The idea here is that we must recognize that not all perspectives are the same but that all are legitimate and valuable to the movement. By understanding intersectionality, feminism can expand its reach and improve the lives of more people.


Judith Butler 

Judith Butler is a feminist thinker and philosopher who is largely connected with developing queer theory, an offshoot of gender studies that serves to deconstruct our very notions of this concept in lieu of something more fluid and egalitarian. Queer theory largely acknowledges the oppressiveness and toxicity of conventional gender relations. Moreover, Butler regards gender as a performance rather than as an identity. Today, Butler is active in global affairs, and she takes an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian political stance. She is also notably involved in the Occupy Wall Street Movement and a supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement in the United States.











The Kalahari Review is an African-centric magazine interested in material exploring modern Africa and Africans in unique and avant-garde ways. Telling new stories from everyday African life as told by the people that are living it. We are looking for stories that have not often been told but should be — through voices that have not yet been heard — but should. We are interested in works from both the continent and the diaspora.

We hope to push the limits and expose the world to aspects of Africa not often shown — both the positives and the negatives.

Please take the time to enjoy the content on the site and get an understanding for what we publish before submitting.

Because this is a web-based publication there are no word count restrictions and no deadlines.

The Kalahari Review is always open for submissions.

Compensation: Unfortunately, at this time we are unable to pay our contributors. However, our goal is to be be able to provide a place where an African artist can receive proper compensation for their work. We are working very hard to acquire advertisers and sponsorships. When we have proper funding we will change our policy on compensation.

Thank you for being a part of the community and good luck.

All submissions should be meet the following guidelines:

All submissions should be emailed to:

The subject line of the email should state the artist’s name and title of the work.

In the body of the email must be a query letter. In the query please include: an explanation of the genre your submission is (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, personal essay, photography, visual art — etc.) as well as contact details, country of origin, your Twitter handle if you have one, a link to your blog or website and a short bio written in the third person.

Then attach your work according to the genre specification below.

(If you are unfamiliar with query letters — there is an excellent guide on submitting to literary publications that will help you: here.)

We read all the submissions and should respond that we have received it and are putting it into our submission cycle within a week of receiving your submission. If you don’t hear from us after a week’s time feel free to contact us and confirm we received it.

Each new submission should be sent on a fresh email chain to avoid confusion with previous submissions.

Please do not submit more than one submission at a time.

Simultaneous submissions are ok, but we do not accept work that has been published elsewhere already.

All rights to the works revert to the artists on publication. However, we do request that if it is published elsewhere that The Kalahari Review is noted as the original publisher.

Genre specific requirements:

Fiction, essays, humour pieces, articles, profiles, memoirs, interviews, etc: Should be single spaced format and be attached as a Microsoft Word document and should be accompanied by a proper query letter in the body of the email. Please include any photos or graphic illustrations that you feel would help your piece.

The Igby Prize for Nonfiction

We are opening a monthly nonfiction/essay contest. The winner each month will receive a $50 usd prize.

Each month will have a theme. When submitting to the contest please specify in the query letter that it is for the contest and which theme.

Here are the themes by month for 2017:

January — Home

February — Relationships & Family

March — Night life: On the night life of cities and towns around The Continent

April- Freedom

May — Food

June — Pride: These is are month dedicated to the African LGBTQ community and their issues

July — Work

August — Where I live and why

October — Comfort/Discomfort

September — Travel

November — African Writers of the Past

December — Festive Traditions

Poetry: Poems should be submitted in collections of 2–4 poems — attached as a Microsoft Word document and should be accompanied by a proper query letter in the body of the email. Poetry unfortunately can not have advanced typesetting. Due to the nature of HTML, word wrap changes and the changes in type as a webpage scales from desktop to tablet to phone screens, it is not possible to guarantee the typeset from screen to screen. (So while we maybe able to replicate your typesetting on a full desktop screen, it would be a jumbled mess as readers of smaller screens find it.) Because of this poems should be submitted either left or center aligned.

Photos, paintings, digital art, illustrations, cartoon portfolios: Should be sent in collections of 6–12, as JPG attachments and should be accompanied by a proper query letter in the body of the email.

Note: Please thoroughly check your submissions for proper formatting, grammar and punctuation. Gross errors in these areas will seriously damage any work’s consideration for publication.

kalahari review

Podcasts: Pitch letters for shows should be in the body of the email. In the pitch, you should give a detailed plan for your show, including how often the show will appear. We will be accepting ideas for regular shows and also for once off shows for special reports, events, etc. Please include any photos or graphic illustrations that you feel would help your pitch. We also accept pilot shows for consideration.

Note: Please thoroughly check your submissions for proper formatting, grammar and punctuation. Gross errors in these areas will seriously damage any work’s consideration for publication.





winning writers

Ends on April 30, 2017

 $18.00 USD 

Submit stories and essays on any theme, up to 6,000 words
 The winning story and essay will each receive $1,500.
Ten Honorable Mentions will receive $100 each. The top 12
entries will be published online.

Judge: Judy Juanita, assisted by Lauren Singer.
You may
submit published or unpublished work. This contest
accepts multiple entries (submit them one at a time).
Please omit your name from your entries. We prefer
12-point type or larger. Please avoid fancy, hard-to-read
fonts. Double-spacing is recommended.





Kenneth Branagh Award
for New Drama Writing
| Windsor Fringe

windsor fringe

| Deadline: March 5, 2017

Amateur playwrights world-wide are invited to submit unpublished one-act plays in English for the Kenneth Branagh Award. Three winning scripts will be selected for performances during the Windsor Fringe Festival in October 2017.

One of the three scripts will be chosen for the £500 prize, judged on the writing only.

Submission deadline March 5th 2017 


Only amateur playwrights are eligible and only one script per author will be accepted. Each script must be an original work and not have been previously published or performed. 


Each play must be no more than 30 minutes long, have a cast of no more than six actors, and be suitable for staging in a studio theatre. 

Submission guidelines

So that each script may be judged anonymously, the author’s name must appear on the cover page only, not in the script. Writers should submit two copies of their plays, printed on one side only of A4 paper with no binding or stapling. Pages must be numbered. No submissions will be accepted by email; and no scripts will be returned. The cover page must show the name of the play and the author’s name, contact details and signature 

Selection process

Scripts will be evaluated by readers and the final nine short listed by our two judges (names to be confirmed.) The three winning writers will be notified by the middle of June 2017. Results of the competition will be announced through the media, the Windsor Fringe web//Twitter/ Facebook sites and the winner of the £500 award will be announced after the last night performance..

For additional information telephone: 07858 132941 or email:

For further infomation visit the Windsor Fringe website 

Please note that these schemes are listed here for your convenience. However, they are run by external organisations and unless otherwise noted the BBC has no involvement with them. Therefore the BBC cannot respond to any queries in connection to those and accepts no liability for the accuracy of third party websites and the information contained on them.