It’s a pleasure to announce Efemia Chela, an award-winning writer of short stories based in Johannesburg, South Africa, as the Quay Words/ English PEN digital writer-in-residence for February 2021.

We are delighted to be partnering with English PEN on Efemia Chela’s residency. English PEN campaigns to protect freedom of expression whenever it is under attack, and supports writers and their families facing persecution as a result of their work. In 2021, English PEN celebrates 100 years with a new programme, Common Currency, bringing together, writers, readers and activists for a unique programme of events, residencies and workshops.

Throughout her residency, Efemia will meet and work with writers at workshops and reading events. There will also be an opportunity to take part in an exciting online ‘Choose your own adventure’ writing activity, based on an original story concept by Efemia about historic Exeter. This activity is aimed at honing your craft and will prompt you to go back a step and redraft if you hit a dead end. Details of how to get involved can be found below.

Upcoming free events

Short fiction workshop with Efemia Chela, 6th February, 11 am – 1 pm. Book here.

Choose Your Own Adventure online writing activity, 15th -25th February. Book here.

Quay Words and Poetry Africa, Durban: development days for women writers. Launch featuring readings by Efemia Chela and Louisa Adjoa Parker. Book your place here.

Efemia Chela is a Zambian-Ghanaian writer and editor. In 2014 her debut story, ‘Chicken’, was shortlisted for the Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2018 she was the Andrew Mellon Writer-in-Residence at Rhodes University. Her writing has appeared in places like the Johannesburg Review of Books, Pen Passages: Africa, Wasafiri and New Internationalist amongst others. She currently lives in Johannesburg, South Africa.