AMU welcomed Malawian poet Upile Chisala to the United States with a full schedule of reading and signing events in Kansas City and New York. Born and raised in Zomba, Chisala’s hope is to tell stories from the margins and, through her work, help others and herself come to terms with pasts, celebrate presents and confidently dream beautiful futures. She is the author of soft magic, which Andrews McMeel Publishing released in February 2019, nectar (October 2019) and a fire like you (March 2020).
First, AMU greeted Chisala at its headquarters in downtown Kansas City, followed by a reading and signing on July 25. She then traveled to New York and was a featured guest at the New York City Poetry Festival the weekend of July 27-28. Fans delighted in her appearance at the festival, which invites poetry organizations and collectives of all shapes and sizes to bring their unique formats, aesthetics and personalities to the festival grounds. More than 14,000 people attended the ninth annual event, which unites the largest community of poets in the country and offers a unique setting for literary activity.
On Sunday evening, July 28, Chisala participated in a reading and signing at Bowery Poetry, and on Monday, July 29, she enthralled fans at The Strand with a reading and signing in the Rare Book Room. Earlier in the day Monday, Chisala participated in an Instagram story takeover with fashion design house Valentino. While modeling a Valentino couture outfit selected especially for her, Chisala walked through The Strand and showed followers favorite books and works that have inspired her on her journey to becoming a writer.
Chisala resides in her current home in Johannesburg, South Africa, and will return to America for events surrounding the October publication of nectar in the fall.