Join us for the annual Keynote by award-winning writer Nii Ayikwei Parkes, sponsored by The Royal Literary Fund.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes is a writer, editor and socio-cultural commentator. He is the author of the hybrid novel, Tail of the Blue Bird, of which the French translation won the 2014 Prix Baudelaire, Prix Mahogany and Prix Laure Bataillon. Nii Ayikwei's book of poetry, The Makings of You (Peepal Tree) includes the poem Barter, which was used in the 2013 Poems on the Underground London series. He was recently the Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Aberystwyth (Wales) and was selected as one of Africa's 39 most promising authors of the new generation for the World Book Capital Africa 39 Project. Nii Ayikwei writes for children under the name K. P. Kojo and spends his time in Europe – where he is the senior editor for flipped eye publishing – and in Ghana, where he was the founding director of the Ama Ata Aidoo Centre for Creative Writing in 2017. He is currently working on a crowd-funded collection of short stories, The City Will Love You (Unbound, 2018).
The Royal Literary Fund was set up in 1790 to help professional authors. Past beneficiaries have included Coleridge, Joseph Conrad, D H Lawrence and Dylan Thomas. Last year it helped 200 writers, though not all of them are quite so famous yet. In 1999 a Fellowship scheme was established to place writers in universities to help students with their writing skills. Since it began it has placed 450 writers in posts at 120 higher education institutions across the UK.