In 2017 I was awarded the Larry Levis Fiction Fellowship for my collection of short stories-in-progress, entitled Homescar, set in the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. The first story from that collection, "Fatty Acids," will be published by Waxwing Magazine in June 2018, and I am also working on a novel, entitled Listen, You Are My Sun, set in Mali during the Islamic occupation of 2013. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College in North Carolina.
Teacher and trainer
Past and upcoming creative writing courses include:
The Makery at Hindman Settlement School, KY – "Telling Stories of Economies in Flux." (April-May 2018)
Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, NC – "'One Good Thing About Music': What Writing Musical Scenes Brings to Fiction."
Rockport Women's Writing Retreat, Rockport MA – "Sciencing Fiction and Poetry: the Mind as Another Heart."
Journalism training includes:
Thomson Reuters Foundation, Freetown, Sierra Leone – After the Epidemic: training investigative reporters on Ebola funding in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Thomson Reuters Foundation, London – Advanced Business Journalism in the Digital Age training.
I also work as a mentor in French and English to investigative reporters under the Thomson Reuters Foundation mentorship programmes.
I have been a visiting lecturer at Princeton University Anthropology Department, Princeton NJ, and in the Journalism departments at Emory & Henry, VA, and Pikeville College, KY.
I worked for twelve years as a freelance journalist in west Africa, covering politics, economics, religion, and arts, with a specialism in African music. Publications include the Guardian, the International Herald Tribune, the Sunday Times, the Observer Magazine, the Independent, Reuters, the BBC, Roads and Kingdoms, Wanderlust Magazine, and Songlines. I was a financial reporter for Bloomberg News between 2006 and 2013. I have made radio packages for the BBC, NPR, Swedish Radio, and CBC on topics varying from Senegalese bare-knuckle wrestling to Mauritanian pop music.
I have had two photography exhibitions, in London and in Dakar, of my collection of photos taken over a two year period in a Senegalese bare-knuckle wrestling school. I have also had photographs published by the Observer, the Guardian, the BBC, The Royal Academy of Dance Magazine, and Reuters.
In 2009 I compiled the African hip-hop compilation Yes We Can: Songs About Leaving Africa for German record label OutHere Records. The album of little-known and previously unreleased tracks came from a long interest in, and reporting on, the various refugee crises to have hit west Africa and, through music, explored those migrant narratives. I am also an old-time banjo player.
From 2012 to 2015 I was the Arts Editor at The Africa Report Magazine.