Bailundo portrait

Photo: (first & last) selfie

Lara Pawson was born in London, a city she left at sixteen for a hamlet in Somerset. For stretches, she has also lived in Abidjan, Accra, Bamako, Johannesburg, Luanda and an auberge in the Alpes-Maritimes. She is now back in London, firmly in its north-east corner, working on a novel.

She is the author of This Is The Place To Be, a fragmentary memoir which is published in September 2016 with CB editions. It is based on the long looping monologue, Non Correspondence, which was directed by Forced Entertainment’s Tim Etchells and performed by Cathy Naden at the Battersea Arts Centre for the London International Festival of Theatre 2014, After A War.

In the Name of the People: Angola’s Forgotten Massacre (IB Tauris, 2014) was her first book. It was nominated for several awards and longlisted for The Orwell Prize 2015. It was translated as Em Nome Do Povo: O massacre que Angola silenciou (Ediçôes Tinta da China, 2014).

Her commentary, essays and reviews have been published in many places, including ArtReview, Verso, Frieze, the Times Literary Supplement, The Financial Times, The Guardian, the London Review of Books, The National, New Humanist, Open Democracy, Radical Philosophy and Wasafiri. She has also written several short stories, three of which formed part of Barbara Campbell’s extraordinary 1001 nights cast durational performance. They were grow and grow and grow, seeking anonymity and you work with someone.

From 2007 to 2008, Lara was a writing fellow at the University of Witwatersrand. In 2006, she was a press fellow at the University of Cambridge. Cautious of the academy, she has nevertheless given papers and appeared on panels at universities in Portugal, the UK and the US, including Berkeley, Duke, the University of East London, Edinburgh, Indiana, Oxford, Stanford, the University of North Carolina, the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Wisconsin and – most important of all – at her old & much-loved college, the School of Oriental & African Studies (where she studied for a BA and an MSc in politics from 1990 to 1994).

Between 1996 and 2007, Lara worked as a journalist, mainly for the BBC World Service. She lived and travelled widely in Angola, Ivory Coast, Mali and Ghana, and also reported from Namibia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Niger and São Tomé & Príncipe. During this period, she also wrote for Africa Analysis, Africa Confidential, Associated Press, The Economist, The IndependentThe Irish Times, Folha 8, Mail & Guardian, New Statesman, Público, Reuters, New African and African Business. 

As well as making many programmes for the BBC, Lara has participated in numerous radio and television programmes in London, Lisbon, Luanda and Johannesburg.

She has many fixations.

Twitter: @larapawson


on phone

Photo: Marcelle Hanselaar