ABOUT

photo: kalahariimages
I'm a poet and arts administrator based in Gaborone, Botswana.
I run Sauti A&PM a live literature company with a particular interest in poetry, spoken word, theatre, staged readings, text incorporating music and/or dance.

For something a little formal here is the story as my team prefers it -

TJ Dema is a poet, workshop facilitator, voice over artist and arts administrator. She is alumna of Lancaster University’s Crossing Borders program, an Honorary Fellow in Writing of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program as well as a current recipient of Lancaster University’s scholarship for an MA in Creative Writing.  She is former chairperson of the Writers Association of Botswana.

TJ was Botswana’s London 2012 Olympics Poetry Parnassus country representative, in 2013 she was named an Arise Magazine African Changemaker and in 2014 she was granted a Danish International Visiting Artist (DIVA) fellowship as well as named a St Louis Top 40 under 40 catalyst.

She has read in and/or facilitated workshops in places including Colombia, Estonia, Brazil, the USA (New York, Washington, Iowa, Nebraska, Seattle), Germany (Berlin, Koln, Bayreuth), Denmark, Cambodia, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Sweden, the UK as well as around the southern African region. She works with young people in after school programs with a literary focus, and occasionally in detention/asylum centres. She mentored the all female secondary school national champions for the British Council’s Power in the voice initiative and has been guest writer for Warwick University’s International Gateway for Gifted Youth.

Her poetry has appeared in international journals including the Swedish magazine 10Tal, Cordite, Rio Grande, elsewherelit, Sampsonia Way and Spanish translations of her work in the Mexican journal Ofi Press. Her thoughts on writing and gender appear in the aptly titled Gendered & Written (Locked Horn Press, 2014). She is a widely anthologized poet and has recorded various spoken word poems to house music that have made it on to Botswana’s radio countdown lists. As a voice over artist and copywriter she writes and voices for radio and television. She was written into a local television series to play herself.

In 2016 she has had readings in Estonia, Seoul and New York and is an Northwestern University/Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities Visiting Artist . In the lead up to Botswana’s 50th anniversary she was curator for the SAUTI presents poetry: The people are talking series and has given a Ted talk at the first ever TedXGaborone.

She is founder of Sauti A&PM, an arts administration organization that stages literary activities, has recorded over 40 Batswana poets (on CD as well as for the pan African poetry archive Badilisha Poetry Xchange), as well as facilitated a gift of hundreds of African Poetry Book Fund sourced contemporary poetry books and journals by international award winning writers to the Gaborone Public library. This led to the opening of the country’s first poetry reading room which is open to the public.


Her chapbook Mandible (2014) was published by Slapering Hol Press in association with The African Poetry Book Fund, Prairie Schooner and The Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Monroe Institute Poets in the world series.


Do have a look at this blog's READINGS page to catch dates for any upcoming workshops, live shows or readings.

Thank you for stopping by :-)
TJ
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If one were so inclined the chapbook box set can be ordered here