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

  • To mark PEN International’s centennial, Words Without Borders has published a sampler of works by writers committed to freedom of expression. Algerian novelist and scholar Med MAGANI is among them.

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

Find Us Online