The cover of Johny Pitts's Afropean

Talking Afropean: Johny Pitts in conversation with Elleke Boehmer and Simukai Chigudu

This Writers Make Worlds and TORCH panel discussion was streamed live on 22 October 2020. It featured the author Johny Pitts in conversation about his ground-breaking travelogue Afropean, his 2019 notes on a journey around contemporary Black Europe. Together with Oxford academics Simukai Chigudu and Elleke Boehmer, Johny Pitts explored questions of black history, hidden archives, decolonization and community, and what it is to be black in Europe today.


Johny Pitts is a writer, photographer and broadcast journalist, and the author of Afropean (2019). His work exploring African-European identity has received numerous awards, including a Decibel Penguin Prize and the Jhalak Prize. He has contributed words and images to the Guardian, the New Statesman and the New York Times.

Elleke Boehmer is a writer, historian, and critic. She is Professor of World Literature at the University of Oxford, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Her most recent books are Postcolonial Poetics (2018) and To the Volcano (2019). She is currently on a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship working on a project called ‘Southern Imagining’.

Simukai Chigudu is Associate Professor of African Politics and Fellow of St Antony’s College, Oxford. Simukai is interested in the social politics of inequality in Africa and his first book The Political Life of an Epidemic: Cholera, Crisis and Citizenship in Zimbabwe came out in 2020. Prior to joining the academy, Simukai was a medical doctor in the UK’s National Health Service.

With thanks to the Ultimate Picture Palace, Oxford, Oxford Digital Media, and Tom Kirkby.