Kadija (George) Sesay, FRSA, is a literary activist, poet, editor, and publisher of Sierra Leonean descent. Her debut poetry collection, Irki, (which means “Homeland” in the Nubian language) was shortlisted for the Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry. She has edited several important anthologies, including Burning Words, Flaming Images (1996); IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (2000) coedited with Courttia Newland; and Write Black, Write British (2005), and she is editing a collection of short stories set in Africa for Comma Press. In the mid-1990s, she worked for the Centerprise Literature Development Project as the Black Literature Development Coordinator and set up the newspaper Calabash.
In 2001, she founded SABLE LitMag a black and white magazine to publish emerging writers of colour; in 2005, she organised the first SABLE LitFest in Brixton, South London and in 2007, the first SABLE Litfest in The Gambia. In 2016 cofounded the Mboka Festival of Arts Culture and Sport in The Gambia. She has curated several other literary events of varying sizes, in the noughties from Write Black, Write British, the first conference in the UK on Black British Literature, to Word from Africa, at the British Museum, and smaller significant events such as a one day conference on Black British Women Publishers She is currently the manager of Inscribe publications for Inscribe, a writer development program housed by Peepal Tree Press.
She is the recipient of numerous awards, namely: Cosmopolitan magazine’s Woman of Achievement Creative Arts Award, Candace magazine’s Woman of Achievement, the Voice newspaper’s Community Award for Literature, Woman of the Millennium 2000, STARS of Sierra Leone Award for outstanding women of achievement, and the Leeds Black Award.
She is a George Bell Fellow and a Kennedy Fellow in Performance Arts. She received a research and development grant from Arts Council England for her forthcoming poetry collection The Modern Pan-Africanist’s Journey, which includes an exhibit and an app. on Pan Africanism and Poetry. Kadija has received an AHRC (TECHNE) Scholarship to undertake doctoral research on Black British Publishers: 1948-1979.
Read a wonderful interview with Khadija on Words Without Borders, “The City and the Writer: In The Gambia with Kadija George.”