Writers Fest adds two US authors to bill

Jeffery Renard Allen

Jeffery Renard Allen

Award-winning American novelist, poet and essayist Jeffery Renard Allen and debut novelist Angela Flournoy will join a growing international contingent for the 20th Byron Writers Festival, to be held August 5 till 7.

They join 2016 Pulitzer prize-winner William Finnegan (US) and New York Times bestseller Cheryl Strayed (US).

Director Edwina Johnson says Jeffery Renard Allen is an exclusive coup for the festival.

Ms Johnson says, ‘He has been rightly described by author Junot Diaz as “one of America’s most important writers.”’

‘His work has been likened by others to James Joyce’s.

Allen is the author of five books, a professor of creative writing at the University of Virginia and co-founder of the Pan African Literary Forum.

His book Song of the Shank is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and shortlisted for a PEN/Faulkner award. It profiles a forgotten slave and musical genius, Blind Tom, who become the first African American musician to perform at The White House. 

Angela Flournoy

Angela Flournoy

At just 30 years of age, Angela Flournoy (US) burst onto the international literary stage last year with her first novel The Turner House. It tells the story of a large, sprawling family of 13 children and their old house in Detroit. Spanning nearly three quarters of a century and several generations, the book is a portrait not only of the Turners but also of their city and heralds a major new contribution to the story of the American family.

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