Shailja Patel appointed NAI Guest Writer 2009

Shailja Patel. Photo: Mai Palmberg.

Press release 2008-07-01

The Nordic Africa Institute has appointed Shailja Patel from Kenya to be Guest Writer 2009. Shailja Patel will be active at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala during April–June 2009. Besides developing her own literary activities during her stay in the Nordic region, she will participate in readings and have performances in several Nordic countries. The Nordic Africa Institute is unique among research institutes in the Nordic region in appointing a yearly writer in residence.

Shailja Patel, who is of Indo-African origin and grew up in Nairobi, is right now in Sweden as a participant in the international writers' and translators' congress Waltic in Stockholm. She has been mentioned as one of the most interesting young writers in Africa. In 2006 she premiered the one man show “Migritude” which gave her global recognition. Extracts from the show has been broadcast by National Public Radio in the U.S. and by the BBC in the UK. She was one of eight poets selected to perform at the Poetry Africa arrangement at the World Social Forum in Nairobi in the beginning of 2007.

The Nordic Africa Institute cites Shailja Patel’s “skill and originality in many writers genres: poetry, short stories, dramatisation of national and family history, and for her original take on identity in the ‘Migritude’ age” as the reason for her being selected as Guest Writer 2009.

For more information about Shailja Patel and the Nordic Africa Institute Guest Writer Scholarship, please go to or contact Mai Palmberg,, coordinator of the programme ‘Cultural Images in and of Africa’ at the Nordic Africa Institute. Also see Shailja Patel’s own web site:

A high resolution picture of Shaijla Patel can be downloaded at The picture can be freely used, citing “Photo: Mai Palmberg” source.

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