Catherine Foulkrod, the director of the Travelling Basis, was in Kenya not too long ago on the lookout for native writers to take part in a residency in Italy
The place are you from?
I’m from Colorado within the US. For 11 years I lived and labored in New York Metropolis as a fact-checker for GQ journal, and later as copy editor for Random Home, in addition to for the impartial writer Tyrant Books. I at present dwell in Naples, Italy.
How would you describe your self?
I write quick tales which were extensively revealed in literary magazines within the US. I additionally write inventive non-fiction essays on up to date artwork and tradition for varied magazines, museums, and galleries within the US, UK, and Europe. At the moment, I’m finishing my first novel and likewise engaged on a book-length non-fiction mission.
What brings you to Kenya?
When alternatives to broaden my expertise come round, I can’t say no. So when Mikhail Iossel, the director of the Summer time Literary Seminars and Concordia College professor invited me to Kenya, I stated sure with no second thought. I had by no means been to japanese Africa and wished to expertise each the cultural vitality and pure fantastic thing about Kenya firsthand.
Additionally, I’m on the board of administrators of The Giancarlo DiTrapano Basis for Literature and the Arts in Sezze, Italy, which presents writing residencies for writers and artists, offering time and house to provide new work and broaden their neighborhood. The nonprofit basis is to honour the late writer Giancarlo DiTrapano. His publishing home, Tyrant Books, was referred to as “the forefront of progressive literature” by the Washington Publish. DiTrapano was at all times on the lookout for new literary expertise that challenged concepts of what literature could possibly be. Likewise, I hoped to maybe discover some contemporary voices within the Kenyan literary scene — rising writers who could possibly be enthusiastic about a residency in Italy.
What are your impressions of Nairobi’s literary scene?
There’s an enthusiasm and seriousness, which felt refreshing compared to the sometimes-jaded scene in New York. I felt an actual power of exploration, play, and mutual assist. I additionally felt that there’s a readership right here that’s very hungry for brand new work.
What has been your expertise of literary retreats?
My Summer time Literary Seminar (SLS) in Tbilisi, Georgia in 2019, the place I met Iossel was an inspirational and mind-expanding expertise. I labored with a mentor, Daybreak Raffel, whose insights helped me with my novel. As a result of writing is a solo sport, discovering a neighborhood is among the most essential issues a author can do. I discover that the neighborhood of SLS has helped my literary formation as a lot because the precise suggestions on my novel.
Lossel stated then that SLS has held month-long literary seminars for the previous 20 years, from Saint Petersburg, Russia, to Montreal, Canada, and in Kenya, each in Nairobi and Lamu, working with writers like Binyavanga Wainaina (now late), Billy Kahora and Martin Kimani, the Kenyan ambassador to the UN.