2011 Kenya Tour

May 23—June 3, 2011

In late May of 2011, the International Writing Program returned to Kenya in order to host further workshops in Nairobi and in the refugee camps near Dadaab. Partnering with Billy Kahora, editor of the literary magazine Kwani, the United Nations High Council on Refugees, and the U.S. Embassy, IWP program officer Kelly Bedeian accompanied American poets Major Jackson and Jenny Browne to Kenya, where hands-on workshops were held in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi as well as in Ifo, Dagahaley, and Hagadera refugee camps. Additionally, Jackson and Browne participated in readings and question and answer sessions at Oshwal Academy Nairobi Primary School and Makongeni Primary School, both in Nairobi.


Jenny BROWNE is the author of The Second Reason (University of Tampa Press, 2007), At Once (Tampa, 2003) and the chapbook, Glass (Pecan Grove, 2000). She is also the editor of Provide and Protect, Writers on Planned and Unplanned Parenthood (Wings Press, 2005). A former James Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, she has received grants from the Writers Center of Washington D.C., the Texas Writers League, and the San Antonio Artist Foundation. Her poems and essays have appeared in American Poetry Review, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, The New York Times, Threepenny Review, Tin House and elsewhere. In 1991-92, she lived in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and studied African Literature at Fourah Bay College. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas, and teaches creative writing at Trinity University.

Major JACKSON is the author of three collections of poetry: Holding Company (Norton:2010), Hoops (Norton: 2006) and Leaving Saturn (University of Georgia: 2002), winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Hoops was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award in the category of Outstanding Literature - Poetry. He is a recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award and has been honored by the Pew Fellowship in the Arts and the Witter Bynner Foundation in conjunction with the Library of Congress. He served as a creative arts fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and as the Jack Kerouac Writer-in-Residence at University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Major Jackson is the Richard Dennis Green and Gold Professor at University of Vermont, and a core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars. He serves as the Poetry Editor of the Harvard Review.


Directing the Tour

Kelly BEDEIAN is a program officer with the IWP.

Happening Now

  • Kristian Sendon CORDERO (IWP '17) co-edited a special issue of Words Without Borders on writing in the Philippines. Its range of poetry in the country's many languages includes Filipino work of Genevieve ASENJO (IWP '12).

  • Muhamed "Nabo" ABDELNABI (Egypt, IWP '13) has been awarded France's 2019 Prix de la littérature arabe for his 2016 novel, published last year in the UK as In the Spider's Room .

  • Over on  Asymptote, in English and Cantonese, the long poem " The Man Who Lost HIs Shadow,"  by Hong Kong poet and editor Stuart LAU (IWP '17).

  • On fish-paste English and cheddar-English: a long interview at LARB (Los Angeles Review of Books) about language, politics, and language politics with Burmese poet and worker KO KO THETT (IWP '16).

  • Behind the 2018+ 2019 Nobel Prizes for Literature given to novelists Peter Handke  and Olga Tokarczuk are translators--one key among them Jennifer CROFT, novelist as well as translator from the Polish, Ukrainian, and  Spanish. Congratulations!

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