“Because it is needed, because it is time.”

Kimbilio means “safe haven” in Swahili.  We are a community of writers and scholars committed to developing, empowering and sustaining fiction writers from the African diaspora and their stories.

Projects include readings, presentations at professional conferences, social media networking, and an annual summer retreat for fiction writers who are members of the Kimbilio community.

If you are a serious-minded, committed writer with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of fictional craft than you should consider applying to become a Kimbilio Fellow.

Kimbilio is a project of the English Department and of Dedman College of SMU.

Kimbilio Fellows come from across the diaspora and represent a wide range of visions and voices.  Among their ranks are people from many generations, who have distinguished themselves in an array of professions, and who bring to the community a wealth of knowledge and resources.  Some arrive early in their careers; others arrive with impressive publication credentials and prizes already under their belts.

The Annual Kimbilio Retreat is held each July on the Taos campus of Southern Methodist University.  For seven days, selected Fellows and Faculty gather in the Carson National Forest to read, write, and learn from each other.

Kimbilio is a safe place for African American writers to ask hard questions of their art and of the cannon itself. It is a safe place to experiment and evolve, engage and argue, explore and discover. Kimbilio is as necessary as fire.

Desiree Cooper ’13, ’15

Kimbilio is a safe place for African American writers to ask hard questions of their art and of the cannon itself. It is a safe place to experiment and evolve, engage and argue, explore and discover. Kimbilio is as necessary as fire.

Desiree Cooper ’13, ’15

Safe refuges are the places where plans are made, revolutions are begun and changes occur. In the safe refuge, one need not look over one’s shoulder every other minute for fear or discovery or surveillance. In the safe refuge, one need not sleep with one eye open. Because one is safe, one can devote one’s entire being and energy and creativity to the purpose at hand.

Amina Gautier ’13

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