Wasafiri encourages readers and writers to travel the world via the written word. Since 1984, it has created a dynamic platform for the publication of international contemporary writing, featuring a diverse range of cultural contexts within the UK and beyond. Its name stems from the Kiswahili word for ‘travellers’ which reflects the magazine’s longstanding engagement with cultural travelling, diverse histories and its continuing commitment to extending the established boundaries of literary culture. Wasafiri hosts regular literary events and publishes quarterly.
Brainchild of Founding Editor, Susheila Nasta, the first issue was launched at the University of Kent in 1984. One of its inaugural aims was to provide much needed literary and critical coverage of writers from African, Caribbean, Asian and Black British backgrounds who often struggled to get adequate attention in the mainstream press. It is now renowned for publishing some of the world’s most distinguished writers including Chinua Achebe, Kamau Brathwaite, Anita and Kiran Desai, Sam Selvon, Nadine Gordimer, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Michael Ondaatje, Vikram Seth, Nayantara Sahgal, Gillian Slovo and Ben Okri amongst many others.
In 2019 Wasafiri celebrates its thirty-fifth anniversary and publishes its one-hundredth issue. The year also marks the tenth anniversary of the Wasafiri New Writing Prize, which was launched to support new writers with no limits on age, gender, nationality or background.