Ondjaki Award-winning author • Poet • Publisher • Filmmaker

Hailing from Luanda, Angola, Ondjaki is an award-winning author, poet, translator, publisher, filmmaker, and visual artist. His career in the literary arts can be traced back to his early inclusion in the Angolan Writers Union, where, to the present day, he remains the youngest writer ever to be enrolled by the organisation. His frequent collaborations with Doek! Literary Magazine includes video direction for poetry and the publication of “Early Morning, Almost Midnight”, the most streamed auralgraph in the magazine’s archive.

Ondjaki’s literary debut came in 2000 with Actu Sanguíneu, his first collection of poems, which was followed by Bom Dia Camaradas (Good Morning, Comrades), his childhood memoir, in 2001 and Granma Nineteen And The Soviet’s Secret. His body of work includes five novels, four collections of short stories, six collections of poetry, and six children’s books. He also directed May Cherries Grow, a documentary about his native city. Ondjaki’s books have been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, German, Serbian, English, Polish, and Swedish.

In 2008, Ondjaki was awarded the Grinzane for Africa Prize in the category of Best Young Writer. In 2012, he was named by Zukiswa Wanner, the award-winning author of The Madams and London Cape Town Joburg—and an inaugural attendee of the 2022 Doek Literary Festival—as one of the “top five African writers” in The Guardian. He was also listed as one of 39 writers under 40 from sub-Saharan Africa who, in April 2014, were chosen as part of the Hay Festival’s prestigious Africa39 Project. In 2013, he was awarded the prestigious José Saramago Prize for his novel Os Transparentes (Transparent City).

Ondjaki is the co-founder of Kiela, a Luanda-based bookshop, and Kacimbo, an Angolan publisher. Ondjaki studied sociology at the University of Lisbon in Portugal and in 2010 he received his Doctorate in African Studies from the University of Naples (L’Orientale) in Italy.

More from and about Ondjaki: Interview With Ondjaki(The White Review) • “Ondjaki Captures The Humour And Heartache Of Luanda(CBC Radio) • “Transparent City: An Audacious State-Of-The-Nation Novel(Financial Times) • “A Lost Bridge Between Now And The Past: Interview With Ondjaki” and “I Learned This From A War Movie: Review of Granma Nineteen And The Soviet’s Secret (Numero Cinq) • “Ondjaki’s Granma Nineteen And The Soviet’s Secret(Words Without Borders)Ondjaki on Lusophone Literature (Arolit Sans Frontieres, Season 5)Conversations With Authors: Kalaf Epalanga x Ondjaki (Cheche Books)

Author image: kazukuta.com