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Beverly Akoyo's Two Girls and a Pod

Thursday January 18 2018

Beverly Akoyo

Beverly Akoyo.  PHOTO | COURTESY

ABIGAIL ARUNGA
By ABIGAIL ARUNGA
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Beverly hosts a podcast with Nyambura Mutanyi called Two Girls and a Pod, which covers everything African Literature-oriented, and sometimes specific strokes. She is also a sub-editor and writer who has been published on cross continental online spaces such as The New Inquiry and The Magunga.

1. I always ask female writers in the literature space this question - would you say that there is a bias towards male-driven or male-written African literature?
No. I don’t think so. I feel like a majority of names coming up or being talked about are those of female writers. For instance, this year alone, there is Ayesha Harruna Attah and Akwaeke Emezi’s new books to look forward to, and another by Aminatta Forna.

Most of the ones that I read last year were by women as well, and women were the ones being talked about, besides Chimamanda. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo did very well; as did Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue and Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi.

2. What are some of the difficulties you face in running a podcast?
Finding recording space, getting equipment for on-location recording, and coordinating our timelines because shooting depends on when we’re free.

For the past year, we’ve had a consistent recording space, but we are back to trying to figure that out at the moment. Also, timing podcasts with events like awards ceremonies is tough.

3. Why did you decide to do a podcast?
We just wanted to have a conversation about literature and where it’s going. When it started, we were mostly covering prizes, and then we moved to looking at African literature and discussions relating to it.

The podcast is usually informed by what we’re reading, what we see, what we’re talking about. Conversations with Nyambura are always very organic.

4. Who do you listen to, concerning literature on the continent?
Cheeky Natives, who mostly talk about literature. They are based in the UK, but have broad discussions on African and English literature. For me, the medium still feels new, so there aren’t that many people I listen to.

The Lit Review podcast, which is not limited to African literature, and the Southbank Centre also has its own podcast. I listen to those because of the format they use.

We’re still working on our own format, things we can feature in each episode, like a mini book review at the beginning, what we’re looking forward to reading, who your literary crush is, as well as the meat of the episode, which explores quite a range of themes.

5. I must ask - when is your book coming out?
Ha! Let’s not talk too much about that. I can’t give an actual timeline, because that will come with too much expectation. Let’s just say one day.

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