Novel Voices online: Femi Kayode and Ellah P Wakatama

Part of our Literature guide

Sarah-Clare Conlon, Literature Editor
Publisher Ellah Wakatama Allfrey.

Novel Voices: Femi Kayode in Conversation with Ellah P. Wakatama (ONLINE), 6 December 2021, from £3.00 - Book now

Novel Voices, the online series featuring Ellah P Wakatama in conversation with debut authors helping to shape the literary landscape today, comes to a close as she welcomes her seventh guest of the 2021 season, award-winning novelist and screenwriter Femi Kayode.

Presented in partnership with Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester, the Novel Voices series is hosted by Ellah P Wakatama, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Manchester’s Centre for New Writing and Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books. Ellah P Wakatama, or Ellah Wakatama Allfrey, is also the founding Publishing Director of The Indigo Press and Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing, and she was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2019.

Holly Watt, author of To The Lions, called Lightseekers a “pageturner” and Dark Pines author Will Dean said it was “intelligent, suspenseful and utterly engrossing” with “confident, beautifully-paced writing”.

Each event sees her chatting to debut authors about their craft and the journey to publishing their first full body of work. Spanning genres and exploring a range of narratives, the writers in the series have been chosen from big and indie publishing houses alike, and for each event they discuss the influences, experiences and structures that help shape their tone, voice and approach to writing. For the autumn term, Ellah has so far spoken to Heba Hayek, Micaiah Johnson, Nicola Garrard and Joan Deitch. There has also been a Manchester Literature Festival special, when Ellah was joined by Caleb Azumah Nelson and Brandon Taylor, and they explored how writing by and about black men fits into a predominantly white literature canon. The MLF Digital event (along with Postcards From Oxford Road) is available to view until Tuesday 30 November.

The fourth and final online event in the series welcomes Femi Kayode, whose debut crime novel was taken on by Bloomsbury imprint Raven Books following a four-publisher auction. Originally from Nigeria, where he trained as a clinical psychologist before starting a career in advertising, Femi now lives in Namibia. He was a Packard Gates Fellow in Film at the University of Southern California, and has created and written several award-winning TV dramas and prime-time TV shows.

Now a PhD candidate at Bath Spa University, it was while he was studying for a Masters in Crime Fiction at the University of East Anglia (he got a distinction) that his debut novel Lightseekers won the £3,000 Little, Brown prize and UEA Crime Fiction Award in October 2018. Judges described the book as “shocking and emotional”, and Femi called it “a kind of love letter to my home country, Nigeria”. It is the first in a series of books following Dr Philip K Talwo, an investigative psychologist – in Lightseekers, he is commissioned to investigate the lynching of three young students in a Nigerian university town, a brutal act broadcast on social media. Holly Watt, author of To The Lions, called Lightseekers a “pageturner” and Dark Pines author Will Dean said it was “intelligent, suspenseful and utterly engrossing” with “confident, beautifully-paced writing”.

The Novel Voices events are live-streamed and presented in partnership with Creative Manchester and the Centre for New Writing. Tickets are £3 or free for students and you will be sent a link to join the online event when ticket sales end at 5.30pm on the day. You can add a copy of Femi’s novel at a 15% discount.

This event is online only. Sign up in advance to receive a link.

Novel Voices: Femi Kayode in Conversation with Ellah P. Wakatama (ONLINE)

6 December 2021 7:00 pm
From £3.00