Stanley Kalu | Writer/Grand Prize Winner of The LAUNCH 2018

Stanley Kalu’s (21) father often calls him a beast of no nation, out of guilt for uprooting him time and time and time again. His guilt, however, is misplaced. Their nomadic lifestyle, though challenging at times, gifted his son with the opportunity and privilege of experiencing culture after culture and, as they explored new landscapes, made him privy to the inexhaustible magnitude of human expression. Art was the through line. From photo galleries in Nairobi documenting the terror and violence that has plagued the young nation, to the scarification masks of the ancient Punu people that once roamed the jungles of Gabon, Stanley has always, always been afforded the position of a cultural sponge.

Stanley came to USC’S School of Cinematic Arts a writer. Writing, he thought, was the vehicle from which he could parse through his fragmented upbringing in order to understand, illuminate and, most importantly, humanize the people and cultures of the African continent and its diaspora.

Art continues to be the through line.

Stanley Kalu was born in Nigeria and has lived all over Sub-Saharan Africa.