Crossing Borders and Beyond: Online Literature Development in Africa

Dr. Graham Mort
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'Crossing Borders' was a distance learning mentoring project that linked 25 mentors in the UK to over 200 African writers over a 5-year programme of development. It established a website that still publishes new work by African writers and led to 'Beyond Borders', the biggest literature festival and forum for discussion held in Africa since the early 1960's. This 30-minute presentation will use audio-visual material to show how the project led to the development of new writing in Africa, promoted cultural exchange, and seeded a major literature festival. It will also focus on current issues in literature development in Africa and discuss how new initiatives developed at Lancaster University are helping the British Council to promote new radio-based initiatives in Africa in English and indigenous languages and how this in turn is developing 'practice as research' in creative writing and international academic links between UK and African Universities.

Keywords: Literature Development in Africa, Distance Learning Mentoring Scheme, IT in Literature Development, Writing for Radio in Africa, Research as Practice in Creative Writing
Stream: Arts Education
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Reflexive Muse, The

Dr. Graham Mort

Senior Lecturer, Director of Postgraduate Studies Creative Writing, Project Leader 'Crossing Borders', Department of English & Creative Writing, Lancaster University
Lancaster, UK

Graham Mort is a university lecturer and a published poet who has produced six full-length collections of work; he also writes short fiction and radio drama. He is currently director of postgraduate studies in Creative Writing at Lancaster University and is a distance learning specialist. He designed and ran the British Council ‘Crossing Borders’ mentoring scheme for African writers (2001-2006), which engaged writers from the UK with writers from 8 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. He was the UK adviser and designer for the ‘Beyond Borders’ literature festival, held in Kampala in October 2005, which attracted writers and delegates from 17 Anglophone African countries across the continent. Graham was a co-applicant on a major AHRC-funded research project, ‘Moving Manchester: Mediating Marginalities’ which has recently been commissioned to catalogue and research the writings of migrant and diasporic communities in Greater Manchester since 1960. Graham’s most recent collection of poems is, ‘A Night on the Lash’, (Seren, 2004).

Ref: A06P0472