Meet Our Contributors | Issue 63:2 | Spring 2024 – Michigan Quarterly Review

Meet Our Contributors | Issue 63:2 | Spring 2024

Heran Abate is an Emmy-winning writer and producer from Addis Ababa. Her practice is deeply rooted in oral histories and an archive that she has collaboratively built over a decade of research. Her writing appears in Kweli Journal, Africa Is a Country, and a number of print anthologies in Africa and Europe. She holds an MFA from The New School and is currently working on her first novel.

Nadiyah Abdullatif is a Mauritius-born, Scotland-based editor and translator of Arabic, French, Mauritian Creole, and Spanish into English. Her work has appeared in carte blanche, Wasafiri, ArabLit Quarterly, and The Markaz Review. Her latest publication Yoghurt and Jam (or How My Mother Became Lebanese) (Balestier Press, 2023) received a PEN Translates award.

Leye Adenle is a Nigerian author known for his crime thriller series. His debut novel, Easy Motion Tourist, won the Prix Marianne. Unfinished Business, the third book in the series, was published in 2022. Adenle’s speculative fiction novel The Beautiful Side of the Moon has been optioned for development into a TV series.

Faith Adiele ( is author of Meeting Faith, a PEN award-winning account of becoming Thailand’s first Black Buddhist nun, and The Nigerian-Nordic Girl’s Guide to Lady Problems. Her media credits include A World of Calm (HBO Max) and My Journey Home (PBS) about finding her Nigerian family. Based in the Bay Area, she hosts the Museum of the African Diaspora’s African Book Club and chairs the Writing & Literature program at California College of the Arts.

Afua Ansong is Assistant Professor of Africana Studies at the University of Rhode Island. She is also the founder of the Adinkra Poetry Prize, which supports emerging poets in Ghana. Explore her work at

Nana Asma’u (1793–1864): Princess. Poet. Polyglot. My name, “Nana,” meaning “grandmother,” is what my family calls me. I am “Mary-Alice Daniel” in formal contexts. In 2022, Ecco/HarperCollins published my memoir, A Coastline Is an Immeasurable Thing,which ventures into the past of our mutual birthplace near the border between the nations now named Niger and Nigeria. Mass for Shut-Ins,my first book of poetry, was released in March 2023 as the 117th volume of the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Selecting my manuscript, Rae Armantrout called it “Flowers of Evil for the 21st century.” Nana Asma’u and I share a fascination—a fixation—with the fires, flames, and conflagrations of hell. Her didactic poems exhort Muslims to lead a moral, virtuous life. Mine walk a more wayward path. As a dual citizen of America and Nigeria, I work to introduce facets of our remarkable yet under-recognized literary tradition. We are the Fulani.

Ìfẹ́olúwa Àyàndélé is from Tede, Nigeria. He is an MFA candidate at Florida State University, and he received an MA in English Literature from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. His poetry is nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His work is published or forthcoming in The Texas Review, The Los Angeles Review, Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, Another Chicago Magazine, South Carolina Review, Moon City Review, The McNeese Review, Rattle, and Verse Daily. He currently lives in Tallahassee, Florida.

.CHISARAOKWU. (she/her) is an X-disciplinary poet-artist and a 2023 California Arts Council Fellow. Her work has been supported with fellowships from Anaphora Arts, MacDowell, Cave Canem, and the Vermont Studio Center. A retired pediatrician, her poetry utilizes spiritual, oral, and print archives of Africa and its diaspora to reveal its traumas, rituals, and joys. Learn more at

Kwame Dawes is the author of over thirty books of poetry and prose. His most recent collection, Sturge Town (Peepal Tree Press, 2023), is a 2023 PBS Autumn Choice. Dawes is George Holmes Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, series editor of the African Poetry Book Series, director of the African Poetry Book Fund, and artistic director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and winner of the Windham-Campbell Prize for Poetry.

Saddiq Dzukogi is a Nigerian poet and Assistant Professor of English at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021); winner of the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry and the 2022 Julie Suk Award; and the recipient of fellowships from the Nebraska Arts Council, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, PEN America, and the Ebedi International Writers Residency. His poetry is featured in various magazines, including Poetry, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review, Poetry London, Guernica, The Cincinnati Review, Gulf Coast, and Prairie Schooner.

Chiké Frankie Edozien is the author of the groundbreaking 2017 book Lives of Great Men, a Lambda Literary Award winner, which was shortlisted for the Randy Shilts Award for Gay Nonfiction in 2018 by the Publishing Triangle. Edozien’s fiction has appeared in Transition and Relations: An Anthology of African and Diaspora Voices (2023). His journalism has appeared in outlets worldwide, and he contributed to the Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction (2016) anthology.

C. A. Ekhelar is a writer from Edo State, Nigeria. Her interests include the process of manipulating form to guide and alter the way audiences typically read nonfiction narratives. She attended Salisbury University, where she worked as the managing editor of their literary magazine, The Scarab, before graduating, and has developed a love for exploring topics such as the tension created by attempting to balance tradition, cultural obligation, and the pursuit of self-realization.

Dalia Elhassan is a Sudanese-American poet and writer living in NYC. Her work has been featured in The Kenyon Review, The Oakland Arts Review, and Rattle, and her chapbook In Half Light was published in New-Generation African Poets: A Chapbook Box Set (Sita) (Akashic Books and the African Poetry Book Fund, 2019). She is the recipient of the Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Prize for nonfiction and was shortlisted for the 2018 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. She can be found online @daliaelhassan.

Thomas Feige is a Franco-British translator based in Edinburgh, Scotland. His interests include fantasy, comics, graphic novels, YA, and historical fiction.

Rasaq Malik Gbolahan is a Nigerian poet. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, The Nation, Transition, and elsewhere. In 2017, Rattle and Poet Lore nominated his poems for the Pushcart Prize. He was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2017. He was a finalist for the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry in 2018.

Jennifer Grotz is a poet and translator who teaches at the University of Rochester. Her most recent book of poetry is Still Falling (Graywolf, 2023). She directs the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences.

Emelda Nyaradzai Gwitimah is from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and currently resides in Canada. She holds an MFA in Writing and Publishing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. A finalist for the African Writers Awards for Poetry, her work has been published in Aké Review, Bambazonke, The Willowherb Review, The Post Online Journal, Ipikai Poetry Journal, the Our Stories Redefined African poetry anthology, and twice in the Intwasa Festival short story anthology.

Isra Hassan is a Black poet from Minneapolis. Her work can be found in Guernica, Poet Lore, Water~Stone Review, and elsewhere. Her (unreleased) manuscript was a finalist for the 2023 Center for African American Poetry and Poetics Book Prize. She resides in Washington, DC.

Patron Henekou is a Togolese poet and playwright. Assistant Professor of English, he has been Director of University Libraries and Archives (October 2019–August 2023) at Université de Lomé. Henekou is founder and director of Festival International des Lettres et des Arts,an annual festival in Lomé. Jazz and Other Prayers, his fourth poetry book and first collection published in English, is forthcoming in the African Poetry Book Series at the University of Nebraska Press.

Omotara James is the author of the debut collection Song of My Softening (Alice James Books, 2024). Her poems appear in Poetry Magazine, The Nation, BOMB Magazine, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. Her work has received support from the African Poetry Book Fund, Lambda Literary, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Poetry Foundation. About her poems, Lewis Warsh wrote, “She’s a great escape artist, and just when you think you know her, she disappears.”

Amira-Géhanne Khalfallah is an Algerian playwright, novelist, and journalist. Having authored seven plays, she ventured into filmmaking by writing and directing the short film Miss, which received four awards, including the Jury Prize at the Berlinale in 2020. Her first novel, Le naufrage de La Lune,was published by Barzakh in 2018.

Gabriel Awuah Mainoo is a Ghanaian creative practitioner. He won the 2021 Africa Haiku Prize, 2022 Singapore Poetry Prize, 2021 LFP/ RML/ Library of Africa and the African Diaspora chapbook prize, and others. Mainoo is a recipient of the 2022 West African Writers Residency, the 2023 Transatlantic Relatives Residency, and a 2024 International Writers’ Workshop writer-in-residence at Hong Kong Baptist University. His craft is found in The London Reader, FIYAH, Prairie Fire, EVENT, The Ex-Puritan, and others.

Hana Meron is an Ethiopian-American storyteller based in Baltimore, Maryland, who believes deeply in joy as a means of Black liberation. In 2023, Hana was a finalist for Cave Canem’s Starshine and Clay Fellowship. She has received poetry fellowships from Hurston/Wright Foundation, VONA, and The Watering Hole. Her work has appeared in EcoTheo Review and is forthcoming by the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora. Find Hana on Substack (Kaleidoscope Black) or IG @hanameronpoetry.

Elizabeth Mudenyo is a Scarborough-based poet. Elizabeth is a fellow of The Watering Hole and the Poetry Incubator and a participant of the Hurston/Wright Poetry and Diaspora Dialogues Short Form Mentorship with Olive Senior. Her work has appeared in Write, Arc, The Ex-Puritan, Canthius, CV2, and elsewhere. Her poetry chapbook, With Both Hands, was published through Anstruther Press. She is a graduate of the MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph.

Migwi Mwangi is a poet and fiction writer from Nairobi, Kenya. His work is forthcoming in various publications, including Fence. He is an MFA candidate at New York University’s Creative Writing Program and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Sharon Neema (they/she) is a visual artist and poet based in Nairobi, Kenya. They are endlessly curious about process, embodiment, inner landscapes, and community. Their poetry chapbook, good for prayer, is available online.

Tolu Ogunlesi’s fiction and poetry have appeared in Wasafiri, Transition, World Literature Today, Orbis, Magma, Sable, The London Magazine, The Westchester Review, and others. He’s been awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and a PEN/Studzinski Literary Award and writing fellowships by the Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden; University of Birmingham, England; and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 2023, he was shortlisted for a Miles Morland Foundation Writing Scholarship. He divides his time between Lagos and Abuja, Nigeria.

Fairuz al-Okley is a poet and columnist from Derna, Libya. She is pursuing a master’s degree in English and translation studies at the University of Benghazi. Her poems and essays have appeared in various literary publications, including Al-Ghurfa 211, Balad Al-Tayyoub, and Hona Libya.

Tom Olali holds a PhD in African Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He is currently a full-time faculty member in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Nairobi. He is a two-time winner of the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature (Kiswahili Adult Category) for the novels Watu wa Gehenna (2013) and Mashetani wa Alepo (2017).

Richard Prins is a lifelong New Yorker. His poems appear in publications including Gulf Coast, jubilat, and Ploughshares; his essays have received “Notable” mentions in The Best American Essays and The Best American Travel Writing. He was awarded a 2023 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translations from Swahili.

Glen Retief grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era. His The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood (St. Martin’s Press, April 2011) won a Lambda Literary Award and was selected as an Africa Book Club Book of 2011. He teaches creative nonfiction at Susquehanna University, and from 2021 to 2022, he served as a US Fulbright Scholar in Mamelodi, South Africa.

For the past twenty years, Damien Roudeau has been drawing reports from places where the world is on the edge: autarkic or precarious spaces, which are also grounds for social and environmental struggles (« Crude : a memoir », Graphic Mundi). Sketches chose their camp : to give a voice to those who all too rarely have one. IG @globe_trottoir

Georgio Russell is a Bahamian writer and an alumnus of the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, as well as the Obsidian Foundation. He is a past winner of the Editors’ Prize for Magma Poetry (2023). He was shortlisted for the Frontier OPEN (2022 and 2023) and the Oxford Poetry Prize (2023) and longlisted for the National Poetry Competition (2022). His work has been published in Frontier Poetry, The London Magazine, Lolwe, Cordite Poetry Review, Magma, and elsewhere.

Amal Sewtohul is an author and Mauritian diplomat. He is the author of three novels, Histoire d’Ashok et d’autres personnages de moindre importance (2001), Les voyages et aventures de Sanjay, explorateur mauricien des anciens mondes (2009), and Made in Mauritius (2012), all published by Gallimard. Made in Mauritius was awarded the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie. He has also written a collection of short stories, Paradise Club et autres histoires (Pamplemousses Éditions, 2021).

Shahilla Shariff’s first poetry collection, Life Lines (2012), was published by Proverse Hong Kong. Her work features in numerous anthologies and journals, including Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, World Literature Today, Literary Review of Canada, and Wasafiri. Her poems explore themes of migration and dislocation—what it means to inhabit provisional spaces and negotiate fractured identities. Born in Kenya, she is Canadian and lives in Hong Kong.

Matthew Shenoda is the author of the poetry collections Somewhere Else, Seasons of Lotus, Seasons of Bone, Tahrir Suite, and The Way of the Earth and co-editor of Bearden’s Odyssey: Poets Respond to the Art of Romare Bearden. He is Professor and Chair of the Department in Literary Arts and affiliated faculty in Africana Studies and the Brown Arts Institute at Brown University. Additionally, Shenoda is a founding editor of the African Poetry Book Fund.

Mwanabibi Sikamo is a Zambian storyteller and filmmaker exploring the real and imagined lives of Africans past and present. She writes about the lived African experience and the confluence between culture, creativity, and indigenous spirituality. Her essays play with form and function, drawing on years as an immigrant, natural hair advocate, television host/producer, and feminist social commentator. In 2023, she was a finalist for the SEVHAGE Literary Prize for Creative Non-Fiction and is currently writing her first book.

Jasmine Tabor is a writer/poet/graphic designer/philosopher-lover, and generally serious, silly gal from the Deep South. Their interests lie in questions about community, healing, and child/elderhood. A Meacham Fellow, a Best of the Net nominee, a Mellon Mays Fellow, and a Edith A. Hambie Poetry Prize recipient from Spelman College C’21, she works as a creative resistance organizer and studies poetry at Syracuse University’s MFA program C’24.

Jérôme Tubiana has reported for twenty-five years on conflicts and displacement across the Horn of Africa and the Sahara. He has written for The New York Review of Books (including a recent diary on board a migrant rescue ship, co-authored with Khaled Mattawa), London Review of Books, The Nation, The Baffler, Foreign Affairs, and Foreign Policy and is the author of the award-winning graphic novel Guantánamo Kid (SelfMadeHero/Abrams, 2019).

Chika Unigwe was born and raised in Enugu, Nigeria. Widely translated, her works include the short story collection Better Never than Late and the novels On Black Sisters Street, Night Dancer, and The Middle Daughter. Unigwe won the Nigeria Prize for Literature. She teaches writing at Georgia College & State University, Milledgeville, Georgia.

Connie Voisine is the author most recently of The Bower (University of Chicago Press, 2019), begun during a Fulbright Fellowship to Northern Ireland. Her writing appears in Poetry, The New Yorker,and elsewhere. She is Professor of Creative Writing in the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University and also teaches in Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2021, she lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico, and Chicago, Illinois.

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