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Kadija (George) Sesay

Kadija George (pen name Kadija Sesay) is a writer, editor, and managing editor and founding publisher of SABLE LitMag and founding organiser of SABLE LitFest.

Of Sierra Leonean descent, she was born in London and majored in West African Studies at Birmingham University. She started out as a freelance journalist, specialising in black arts, black British Literature and women's issues. Having co-ordinated the Centreprise Literature Development Project and set up the newspaper Calabash in the mid-1990s, she founded the literary magazine Sable (now SABLE LitMag) in 2001.  

Her own poetry, short stories, essays and articles have been published in magazines, journals, anthologies and encyclopaedias in the UK, USA and Africa and have been broadcast on BBC World Service. In 2013 Peepal Tree Press published her first poetry collection, Irki (‘Homeland’ in the Nubian language). She has received an Arts Council Grant to research her second poetry collection, The Modern PanAfricanist's Journey, and is also working on a collection of short stories, This is Africa.

Over the past decades Kadija has edited several anthologies of work by writers of African and Asian descent, including Dreams Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Fiction (Picador Africa 2008, edited with Helon Habila); Dance the Guns to Silence: 100 Poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa (Flipped Eye 2005, with Nii Ayikwei Parkes), IC3: The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain (Hamish Hamilton, 2000, with Courttia Newland), and Write Black, and Write British: From Post Colonial to Black British Literature (Hansib, 2005). She is the series editor for the Inscribe imprint for Peepal Tree Press; their first anthology was published in 2010 under the title Red: Contemporary Black British Poetry.

She also has co-ordinated various literary events, such as the ‘Write Black, Write British’ conference at London’s Barbican Arts Centre (2001) and ‘Word from Africa’ at the British Museum (2008), and organised international writer’s residencies (SABLE Writer’s HotSpot trips) to The Gambia, Cuba and New York (1996-2007). She is the co-director of Inscribe, a professional development project for writers of African and Asian descent. She is a fellow of the George Bell Institute, a Fellow of the Kennedy Arts Centre of Performance Arts Management and an associate of Vision Quest International.

She has received several awards for her work in the creative arts, including the 2013 Leeds Black Award (Arts Category). In 2021 she was made Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society for Literature.


Arana, R. Victoria., and Lauri Ramey. Black British Writing. Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

Habiba, Helon, and Kadija Sesay, editors. Dreams, Miracles and Jazz: New Adventures in African Fiction. Picador Africa, 2008.                                    

Newland, Courttia, and Kadija George, editors. IC3, The Penguin Book of New Black Writing in Britain. Hamish Hamilton, 2000.

Sesay, Kadija. Irki. London: Peepal Tree Press, 2013.

—. The Modern PanAfricanist’s Journey (forthcoming).

—, editor. Six Plays by Black and Asian Women Writers. Aurora Metro, 1993.

—, editor. Write Black, Write British: From Post Colonial to Black British Literature. Hansib, 2005.

—, editor. Dance the Guns to Silence – 100 poems for Ken Saro-Wiwa. Flipped Eye, 2005.

Image source: Victor Dlamini