Mapanje, a Malawian poet, linguist, editor and human rights
activist, was formerly head of the English department, University
of Malawi, where he was imprisoned on 25 September 1987 by the
dictator Hastings Kamuzu Banda of Malawi for three years, seven
months, sixteen days and more than twelve hours for his dissenting
views and radical poetry. Upon his release on 10 May 1991 he went
into exile with his family in the UK. He has published five books
of poetry, edited one anthology of African prison writing and
co-edited two anthologies of African oral and written poetry and an
African writers’ handbook.
For his academic achievement, contribution to poetry and human
rights he is a recipient of the 1988 Rotterdam Poetry International
Award, honorary doctor of the University of Stirling, the 2002
African Literature Association (USA) Fonlon-Nichols Award and
Fellow of University College London.
Mapanje was a visiting scholar at the University of York; taught
literature and creative writing in the School of English, Leeds
University and the School of English, Newcastle University; he has
held research and writers’ residencies at the University of Leiden,
the Netherlands; University College Cork, the Republic of Ireland;
St Anthony’s College, Oxford University; The Open University,
Milton Keynes; Warwick University, Coventry; and Dove Cottage, The
Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria. He is currently visiting
professor in the faculty of arts, York St John University.