The African Women Writers Network began its journey with the first symposium back in 2010. Featuring writers and performers from all over Africa and its diaspora, the objectives of that first symposium were, amongst others:
- to bring together African women writers to engage in a dialogue about African women’s writing,
- to establish a network of African women writers,
- to highlight the challenges of women on the African continent and in the African Diaspora,
- to encourage the emergence of a Pan African women’s voice and continent-wide projects to strengthen women’s role in the literary arts,
- to showcase African women writers in performance, and
- to promote African women’s writing to a South African readership and audience.
Over the years, the Symposiums have hosted award-winning women writers from the continent and its diasporas, such as Nawal El Saadawi, Nadine Gordimer, Jayne Cortez, Miriam Tlali, Sapphire, Mona Eltahawy, Diana Ferrus, Kadija Sessay, Koleka Putuma, Barbara Schreiner, Shailja Patel, Zukiswa Wanner, Lola Shoneyin, Aja Monet and Samira Negrouche, amongst others.
In 2015, the first In Memoriam Nadine Gordimer Lecture took place as part of the Symposium, in honour of South Africa’s only woman Nobel Literary Laureate who passed away in 2014. Renowned writers Gillian Slovo, Aminatta Forna, Lorna Goodison, and Leila Aboulela have delivered the lecture since then.
Last but not least, free masterclasses and workshops open to all are an integral part of the symposium.