African Writers Trust/New Writing North Digital Residency

In an exciting collaboration, New Writing North and the African Writers Trust co-created a digital residency which took place in Northern England and Uganda between May and July 2022. The digital residency was led by the acclaimed poet Nick Makoha.

This programme seeked to explore a range of voices and experiences that connect to a sense of home and heritage. We worked with a group of 18 to 25-year-old writers made up of participants based in Uganda and the UK, connecting communities and using technology and collaboration to cross geographical boundaries.

This programme was supported by the International Literature Showcase Collaboration Fund. The International Literature Showcase is a partnership between the National Centre for Writing and the British Council.

African Writers Trust (AWT) was established in 2009. The organisation brings together African writers living in the diaspora and on the continent, so as to promote synergies and foster collaborative learning between the two groups through skills development workshops, a writers’ residency, a biennial international writers conference and mentorship. AWT is based in Kampala, Uganda.

AWT building, Kampala

Listen to an audio collage of highlights from the sessions, reflections from the writers, and some of the poetry developed during the residency:

New Writing North · NWN x AWT Digital Residency: Audio Compilation

Lead Artist:

Nick Makoha is the founder of The Obsidian Foundation, winner of the 2021 Ivan Juritz prize and the Poetry London Prize. In 2017, Nick’s debut collection, Kingdom of Gravity, was shortlisted for the FelixDennis Prize for Best First Collection and was one of the Guardian’s best books of the year.

Nick is a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and the Complete Works alumnus. He won the 2015 Brunel International AfricanPoetry Prize and the 2016 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection Man. His play The Dark—produced by Fuel Theatre and directed by JMK award-winner Roy Alexander—was on a national tour in 2019. It was shortlisted for the 2019 Alfred Fagon Award and won the 2021 Columbia International Play Reading prize.

His poems have appeared in the Cambridge Review, the New York Times, Poetry Review, Rialto, Poetry London, TriQuarterly Review, 5 Dials, Boston Review, Callaloo and Wasafiri. He is a Trustee for the Arvon Foundation and the Ministry of Stories, and a member of the Malika’s Poetry Kitchen collective.

Guest speakers:

SUSAN NALUGWA KIGULI is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature at Makerere University. She holds a Ph.D. in English from The University of Leeds. She was the African Studies Association Presidential Fellow, 2011 and this presented her with an opportunity to read her poetry at the Library of Congress, Washington DC in November 2011. She has served as the chairperson of FEMRITE and currently serves on the Advisory Board for the African Writers Trust. She was the chief convener for Celebrating Ugandan Writing: Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino at 50 held at Makerere University in March 2016. She is the author of The African Saga and Home Floats in a Distance/Zuhause Treibt in der Ferne (Gedichte): a bilingual edition in English and German.

PHOEBE POWER was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, grew up in Cumbria and now lives in York. She is the author of Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet, 2018), which received the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and was shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize. Further publications include the pamphlets Harp Duet (2016) and Sea Change (Guillemot, 2021, with Katrina Porteous). Book of Days, Phoebe’s long poem in response to the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, was released in April 2022 with Carcanet Press. She received a Northern Writers’ Award from New Writing North in 2014.

Phoebe’s commissioned work includes projects with Newcastle Centre for the Literary Arts and New Writing North relating to place, community and climate change, with her work about the Durham coast featured on BBC Radio 4’s Open Country. She has performed her work at venues including Ledbury Poetry Festival and Schamrock’s Festival of Women Poets in Munich, and in 2021 was a writer-in-residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation in Switzerland. She currently lectures in creative writing at the University of York St John.


Programme elements:

  • Workshops: Nick Makoha
  • Peer Exchanges: New Writing North
  • Guest Writer Sessions: one curated by NWN, the other by AWT
  • Group Showcase: led by participants
  • Online Showcasing: read some of the writers’ poetry here.


Zoom meeting screenshot of some of the participants

Finn Haunch
Uwera Martha
Solomon Frederic Myles Baguma
Akal Mohan
Maysura Farzia
Princess Arinola Adegbite
Bridget Ankunda
George Gumikiriza
Vivienne Arinda
Jasmine Gray

Read some of the poetry created by our writers-in-residence

This programme was supported by the International Literature Showcase Collaboration Fund. The International Literature Showcase is a partnership between the National Centre for Writing and the British Council.

With special thanks to the team at African Writers’ Trust in Kampala, and to all the young writers who took part.