FEMRITE – Uganda Women Writers Association founded in the early 1990s and registered in May 1996 was one of the earliest writers associations in Africa. It was established to support, nurture, promote, train and empower women writers looking to write and get published. Since inception, FEMRITE has consistently worked towards developing and empowering women writers, thereby contributing to women’s emancipation and providing alternative narratives, making it one of the most successful writers’ organisations in Africa.
This presentation will highlight FEMRITE’s beginnings and acts of activism that have seen the organisation register remarkable achievements, and the impact the organisation has had, not only in Uganda, but on the the continent as well through various partnerships. FEMRITE has fundamentally changed the face of writing and publishing in Africa over the past two decades.
Goretti is one of Uganda’s leading novelists. She holds an MA in creative writing from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her début novel, The First Daughter, was published in 1996, followed by Secrets No More in 1999, which won the Uganda National Literary Award for Best Novel in the same year. In 2002, she published a novella, Whispers from Vera. Her third novel, Waiting, was published by The Feminist Press in New York in 2007. In 2014, she published the Essential Handbook for African Creative Writers. She has also published short stories and children’s books. Goretti is a founding member of FEMRITE –Uganda Women Writers’ Association and Publishing House –and worked as its first Director for ten years (1997-2007).In 2009, she founded and is now Director of the African Writers Trust, an organization that aims to bridge the divide between African writers and publishing professionals living in the Diaspora and on the continent, bringing them together in order to promote synergies between the groups. Goretti was the first Ugandan woman to receive an International Writing Program fellowship at the University of Iowa, and has since participated in many literary events internationally. In 2013, Goretti was one of the five international judges for the Commonwealth Book Prize. She lives in the UK and Uganda.
Hilda J. Twongyeirwe is a Ugandan Feminist, a mother and a member of different women empowerment initiatives including FEMRITE, Uganda’s Women Writers Association; Action for Development; and the Pan-African Graca Machel Trust’s Women in Media Network. A founding member of FEMRITE, Ms. Twongyeirwe is FEMRITE’s current executive director, a position which has enabled her to initiate and contribute to several actions for the advancement of women writing in Africa. She is a member of the Permanent Bureau of African-Asian-Latin American Writers Union and the National Book Trust of Uganda. She received the Uganda Government National Medal in recognition of her contribution to women empowerment and emancipation through Literary Arts. She is also a recipient of The Women for Women Award -Uganda 2018 and Uganda Registration Services Bureau Recognition Award 2018 for contribution to Uganda’s Cultural and Literary arts. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Public Administration and Management from Makerere University, Kampala. She is a published writer of short stories, poetry and creative non-fiction and an editor of several literary works by women writers. Her political satire short story, “Baking the National Cake” was translated into Vietnamese in a journal of Vietnamese writers. Her poem, “Threshold,” introduces a section in Mire Soraya’s memoir against Female Genital Mutilation titled The Girl with Three Legs. Ms. Twongyeirwe is one of the “New Daughters of Africa” in Margaret Busby’s ground-breaking 2019 anthology of women writers of African descent.
4W WOMEN IN TRANSLATION PANEL
Living Poetry: Women in Translation. A Collective Approach.
Featuring Nadia López García
Virtual Event: TBD
With the underlying ideas that poetry is ultimately an act of translation and that the praxis of literary translation becomes a poetic event in itself, the 4W Living Poetry: Women in Translation Initiative (4W-WIT) will be presenting a brief selection of their bilingual poems by Latin American contemporary writers and scholars. Questions on the meaning of translation as a collective approach that aims to reimagine a larger cultural dialogue on issues of genre, wellbeing, urban and rural sustainability, will also be address. This event will end with the participation of our invited guest and collaborator, Mexican Mixtec poet Nadia López García, who will be presenting “Mujeres con alas. Escritura en lenguas originarias” [Women with Wings. Literature in Indigenous Languages]. English translation will be provided.
The 4W-International Women Collective Translation Project at the University of Wisconsin Madison gathers a community of readers, translators and interpreters from various disciplines and institutions as part of a collaborative translation praxis of literary texts by writers from the Americas and Spain. Literary and translation studies, cultural anthropology, education, public health, cancer biology, and gender and women studies are among the disciplines and institutional fields of research represented in the group. Readings and discussions of selected texts aim to illuminate the multiple perspectives, cultural experiences and depth of each one of them, crucial elements required for the creation of new versions done either in English or Spanish.
This collective translation approach inspires also a larger dialogue with the writers themselves, along with literary critics and other professional translators. Indeed, the collaborative effort—one that has shaped key cultural or artistic groups and movements in the past such as Avant Garde literary movements, Mexican Muralism or the Cartoneras Editorial Houses, to name a few—makes this translation initiative a real “zone of contact” with the different linguistic experiences, knowledges and cultural backgrounds that collaborators from Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panamá, Nicaragua, England, France, Spain, Poland and the USA contribute to the task of translation.
Nadia López García
Tu’un Savi (Mixtec), known as Nadia López García in Spanish, is a writer, essayist and award-winning poet. A promoter of her Mixtec culture, she was awarded of the 2017 Cenzontle Prize in indigenous literatures, the 2018 Youth National Literary Prize, and the 2019 Mexico City Youth Literary Prize. She has published the poetry collections Ñu´ú Vixo /Tierra mojada [Wetted Earth] (2018) and Tikuxi Kaa/El Tren, [The Train] (2019). Her work has been translated into Arabic, English, French, Hindi and Catalan [and now into English by 4W-WIT]. She has also participated in numerous recitals, poetry festivals and workshops in Mexico, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Puerto Rico and other parts of the United States. Forbes listed her as one of the “most creative Mexicans of 2018.” Born in the community of Caballo Rucio, Mixteca Alta, Oaxaca, Nadia studied Pedagogy at the School of Philosophy and Letters at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM) and Pedagogical Anthropology and Education at the University of Barcelona. Additionally, she has studies Comparative Politics of Migration in the MA Immigration Management Program at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Spain.
THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HEALTH NETWORK
Virtual Event: TBD
The African American Health Network is a non-profit organization whose mission is to foster networking among African American health professionals and community health advocates and promote health education, healthy lifestyles, self-advocacy, empowerment and well-being among African Americans in Dane County.
4W STREETS: “Pedagogy of Care: Artistic Tools for Discussing Human Trafficking”
Social Transformations to End Exploitation and Trafficking for Sex (STREETS) is contributing to the end of human trafficking through education and action research that is grounded in the perspectives and preferences of survivors. STREETS aims to be an effective voice in the academic, legal, and policy realms, impacting communities locally and globally through creative collaborations. Through this work, STREETS has built a community of engaged scholars, practitioners, and survivors from around the world whose continued collaboration is centered on survivor-led policy and programs for healing and growth across the life course.
GRADUATE STUDENT SYMPOSIUM KEYNOTE
LEAH LAKSHMI PIEPZNA-SAMARASINHA
Cripping The Book Tour/ The Performance Space:
Creating Liberated Zones through Sick and Disabled Queer/People of Color Performance Art
UW-Madison’s Gender & Sexuality Campus Center, The Department of Asian American Studies, The Department of English, and 4W
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is a queer disabled nonbinary femme writer, performance artist, disability and transformative justice movement worker, and educator of Burgher/Tamil Sri Lankan and Irish/Roma ascent. The Lambda Award winning author of Tonguebreaker, Bridge of Flowers, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home, Bodymap, Love Cake and Consensual Genocide, with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. Beyond Survival: Stories and Strategies From the Transformative Justice Movement, co-edited with Ejeris Dixon, is forthcoming from AK Press in spring 2020. Since 2009, she has been a lead artist with the disability justice performance collective Sins Invalid. The co-founder of QTBIPOC performance collective Mangos With Chili and Toronto’s Asian Arts Freedom School, they are a VONA Fellow and hold an MFA from Mills College. She is also a rust belt poet, a Sri Lankan with a white mom, a femme over 40, a grassroots intellectual, a survivor who is hard to kill.