More than 250 writers and scholars from around the world will celebrate the literature of Africa and explore the cultural phenomenon of globalization at the 33rd annual meeting of the African Literature Association March 14-18 in Morgantown.

African Literature and the Cultural Dynamics of Globalizationis the theme of this years conference, which will be hosted by West Virginia University at the citys landmark Waterfront Place Hotel in the Wharf District.

Poetry readings, creative writing workshops and roundtable discussions with African authors are on the bill, along with a program on African cinema and a performance by a griotfrom the West African population of musicians who keep their culture alive in story and song.

The meeting also features music by percussionist Ellie Manette, a WVU artist-in-residence known internationally as thefatherof the steel drum.

On-campus readings and talks will be offered at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 15, and Friday, March 16 in the Rhododendron Room of the Mountainlair student union on the Downtown Campus.

Josefina Baez, a writer and performer from the Dominican Republic and now living and working in New York City, will talk about his international journey in the arts Thursday. Syl Cheney-Coker, the poet and writer forced to spend his life outside his home country of Sierra Leone, will give a reading on Friday.

Other guest speakers: African authors and poets Tierno Monénembo, Dennis Brutus, Régina Yaou and Nawal El Saadawi.

Saadawi will also be honored as the 2007 recipient of the Associations Fonlon-Nichols Award, which is given annually to an African writer for excellence in creative writing and for contributions to the struggles for human rights and freedom of expression.

The African Literature Association is an independent, non-profit, professional society that advances the efforts of African writers and artists. Its membership is open to scholars, teachers, and writers across the world. For more information, visit

The conference is sponsored in part by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council. WVU co-sponsors include the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, the departments of English and Foreign Languages, the Center for Womens Studies, the Office of International Programs, the Department of History, the Africana Studies Program and Center for Black Culture.

For more information, visit contact Dr. Janice Spleth, Department of Foreign Languages, at or 304-293-5121, ext. 5532. You may also visit the department Web site at