Amelia B. Kyazze is a writer, photographer and editor based in southeast London. Her debut novel, Into the Mouth of the Lion, was published in May 2021. Based on her notebooks and photographs from when she worked in Angola in 2002, the book is about a photographer searching for her missing sister at the end of Angola’s civil war. The book was long-listed for the Mslexia Woman’s First Novel Prize in 2017.
Another book in a humanitarian setting, Ahead of the Shadows was published in September 2022. Within the landscape of DR Congo, Darfur Sudan, and also Paris, this is the story of the intense relationships formed when working in war zones, the transmission of intergenerational trauma, and whether one unconventional boy can break the cycle. The paperback and hardback copies of the book include four original black and white photographs by the author.
More background: for 18 years A.B. Kyazze worked with humanitarian aid organisations such as Refugees International, Oxfam, Save the Children and the British Red Cross. She travelled to more than forty countries documenting humanitarian crises and efforts to rebuild or prepare for future disasters. Her work took her to Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sudan, where her books are set, as well as Uganda, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Nepal, India, Albania, Kosovo, and many other countries across Africa, Asia and the Balkans.
She also writes short stories, and was a founding member of the new Breakthrough Book Collective. Her short stories are included in the anthologies Taking Liberties and Order and Chaos (published in April and October 2023, respectively). “Covid in Brixton”, a light-hearted story about friendship during the time of the pandemic, was story of the month for the Byte Shorts showcase in May 2020. Another story, “End of Lockdown Summer”, was featured by Byte the Book in September 2020. “Rush Hour” and “Eduardo’s Predicament” are included in the National Flash Fiction Day Anthology 2019 and 2021 Anthologies, respectively.
In January 2020 she started a new venture, Writing the 7 Senses, facilitating creative writing workshops for children and adults, in schools and at local festivals. In May 2022 she joined LEAN (the Lewisham Education Arts Network) to deliver creative writing workshops in secondary schools, and the same month she was awarded a London Borough of Culture 2022 Change Award to facilitate fifteen workshops for adults and children in schools and libraries. She continues to facilitate workshops for students in secondary schools and university settings.
Amelia is also a trustee of the Oxford Centre for Fantasy, a new charity linking Oxford’s legacy of writers and creativity with creative writing and the arts more broadly. She served as a judge on the inaugural Oxford/Pushkin Children’s Fantasy Prize in October 2023.
As part of her humanitarian work, she has delivered speeches in Geneva, Brussels and at UN events in New York and Bangkok. She has been interviewed by CNN, Al-Jazeera and many other news outlets. Her non-fiction work has been published in the Huffington Post, the International Review of the Red Cross, ODI/HPN and many other places.
Her photography has been published in The Humanity in the Landscape Series, available on Blurb.com. She has participated in solo and group shows of her photography in New York, London and Oxford. Her photography portfolio can be viewed here.