portrait of Danson Kahyana

Danson Sylvester Kahyana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Literature, Makerere University, Uganda. He holds a PhD in English Studies from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He is a published poet and writer of children’s books. He is also an accomplished curator of anthologies, with several edited titles like Striding to Triumph: Poems from Kasese Secondary School (2023); I Promise This Song Is Not About Politics: A Poetry Anthology (2022); A Word or Two Before We Part: Poetry from Immaculate Heart Girls’ School (2021); As I Stood Dead Before the World: Creative Writing from Luziira Prison (2018), and Fire on the Mountain: Creative Work on the Obuhikira (2018). Most of these anthologies mainstream governance and human rights issues.


His critical work has appeared in scholarly journals like English in AfricaJournal of African Cultural StudiesSocial Dynamics, and Matatu, among others. He is a recipient of a number of fellowship awards, for instance the Social Science Research Council’s African Peacebuilding Network (APN) Individual Research Fellowship Award (2022), the Perpetuum Mobile Ry Artistic Residency Award (2022), the Fulbright Research Fellowship Award (2020), the Andrew W. Mellon Early Career Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2018), and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS’s) African Humanities Programme Postdoctoral Fellowship Award (2015), among others.


Kahyana is President Emeritus of Ugandan PEN, and a former Board member of PEN International (2019-2022). At the Carr Center, he is working on three research papers: Examining the effect of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act (2023) on artistic freedom; exploring the representations of the right to healthcare in Ugandan literary and other cultural productions; and investigating the right to dignity among the elderly citizens as depicted in selected East African fiction.