Programs Becoming Lit - The Limitless African Story with Bisi Adjapon and Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond


  • Date:
    Feb 08, 2023
  • End Date:
    Feb 08, 2023
  • Time:
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Location:
Wednesday, February 8, 2023 | 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Doors open at 6PM; conversation begins at 6:30PM
The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall
1280 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10029 United States (map)

The Africa Center presents Becoming Lit: The Limitless African Story with Bisi Adjapon and Nana Ekua  Brew-Hammond. Join us on February 8th from 6-8PM EST for this salon-style conversation between authors Bisi Adjapon and Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond. The authors will discuss the recent surge of diverse African stories in publication and reflect on the differences in their experiences seeking publication and navigating shifts in public attention in America—versus working with the continent’s publishers and literary scene shapers. The conversation will explore how African storytellers have defied Western gatekeepers’ strident dismissal and rejection of their work and built a literary infrastructure that promoted the limitless African story—and strategies to grow and maintain it. The conversation will feature readings from Adjapon’s new novel, DAUGHTER IN EXILE and Brew-Hammond’s new book RELATIONS: AN ANTHOLOGY OF AFRICAN AND DIASPORA VOICES

Both Adjapon and Brew-Hammond highlight through their writing unique perspectives on the complexities of migration, identity and belonging, themes that resonate powerfully with States of Becoming, The Africa Center’s current exhibition examining the dynamic forces of relocation, resettling and assimilation through the work of 17 artists from the continent and Diaspora. Guests are invited to visit the exhibition in the first half hour of the program, before the conversation begins at 6:30PM.


Bisi Adjapon image

Bisi Adjapon is the author of Daughter in Exile, which Booker Finalist Maaza Mengiste called “sensuous  and intelligent, insightful, and riveting”, and the critically acclaimed novel The Teller of Secrets, whose  short story version, Of Women and Frogs, was nominated for the Caine Prize and declared a must-read  by The Boston Globe, Washington Post, Ms Magazine, Pop Sugar, Amazon and Mail and Guardian. She  has written for and been featured in many publications including McSweeney’s Quarterly, the Washington  PostThe GuardianAljazeera, the New York Times, The Sun Magazine and the Washington Times. She founded and ran the Young Shakespeare company for four years in Virginia, and, as an International Affairs Specialist for the US Foreign Service, she won the Civil Rights Award for Human Relations. As an educator, she won an Excellence in Teaching award and is a member of The Who’s Who of the Best Teachers in America. She divides her time between Ghana and America.

Follow her @bisiadjapon (IG, Twitter) and Bisi Adjapon, Author (FB) 


Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond image

Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond is the author of the children’s picture book BLUE: A History of the Color as  Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky, illustrated by Caldecott Honor Artist Daniel Minter. Named  among the best books of 2022 by NPR, New York Public Library, Evanston Public Library, Kirkus  Reviews, and The Center for the Study of Multicultural Literature, BLUE was presented with the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award® recognizing excellence in the writing of non-fiction for children and nominated for an  NAACP Image Award. Brew-Hammond also wrote the young adult novel Powder Necklace, which  Publishers Weekly called “a winning debut”, and she edited RELATIONS: An Anthology of African and  Diaspora VoicesHer short fiction for adult readers is included in the anthologies Accra Noir, edited by  Nana-Ama Danquah; Africa39: New Writing from Africa South of the Sahara, edited by Ellah Wakatama  Allfrey; New Daughters of Africa, edited by Margaret Busby; Everyday People: The Color of Life, edited  by Jennifer Baker; and Woman’s Work, edited by Michelle Sewell, among others. Forthcoming from Brew Hammond are a novel and children’s picture book. Brew-Hammond was a 2019 Edward F. Albee  Foundation fellow, a 2018 Aké Arts and Book Festival guest author, a 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar,  a 2016 Hedgebrook writer in residence, and a 2015 Rhode Island Writers Colony writer in residence.  Every month, Brew-Hammond co-leads a writing fellowship whose mission is to write light into darkness.  

Follow her: @nanaekuawriter (FB and IG), @nanaekua on Twitter. 

ICI logo

This event is co-produced with ICI. It is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council. Additional support was generously provided by the ICI Board of Trustees, The Africa Center Board of Trustees and ICI Access Fund. States of Becoming is a traveling exhibition curated by Fitsum Shebeshe and produced by Independent Curators International (ICI), New York. It is the result of a series of programs, pioneered with the support of the Hartfield Foundation, aimed at providing opportunities to alumni of ICI’s Curatorial Intensive as they move through the stages of their career, and reflecting ICI’s commitment to fostering and championing new curatorial voices who will shape the future of the field. States of Becoming is made possible with the generous support of ICI’s Board of Trustees and International Forum. Crozier Fine Arts is the Preferred Art Logistics Partner. The presentation at The Africa Center is made possible with support generously provided by The Africa Center’s Board of Trustees and patrons.