Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Fiction and Life

Courtesy of Read Farafina on Facebook.

Farafina (Kachifo Limited) published The Maestro, The Magistrate and The Mathematician in Nigeria in 2015.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Why I Write: Sandisile Tshuma


“So what’s your guilty pleasure?” my brother asked one day out of the blue. We had spent the day in my little apartment and I suspect that, as he looked around the barebones space filled with books, CDs and conspicuously missing a television set, he was worried I had no life. “Um, I get my locs treated and go to the spa for a deluxe pedicure?” I ventured, posing my response as a question because I was pretty sure there was a right answer and a wrong answer to his question. “No, that’s basic grooming. You have to do that. What’s a thing that you do that you don’t need to do but that you love to do just for the pure enjoyment of doing it?” Failing to find an answer to a question so simple as “what do you enjoy in life?” I weaseled out of the conversation by offering him another beer from the fridge. But the question lingered in the recesses of my mind for years afterwards.

One day I wrote a blog post about how my inability to put down roots and stick to a single place or activity for long had evolved. I was not supposed to write that post. I was supposed to be working on an assignment for school due the next day. But there is a land called Procrastinatoria and I am their queen. Instead of ten pages on voluntary medical male circumcision, I toyed with the idea of finding myself by doing less and being more. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote. Then when my eyelids were so heavy with exhaustion that I could barely keep them open as I clicked on the Publish button, the answer to my brother’s question came to me. I was tired but completely satisfied. I had been so absorbed in what I was doing that I hadn’t noticed time slipping past and the sleep creeping in. I had stolen time from my education and spent it on my immediate happiness. Instant versus delayed gratification. An indulgence. A guilty pleasure, one might say.


Nothing relaxes me the way writing does. Nothing else feels so effortless even when the results aren’t perfect. Nothing validates me the way writing does. Writing gives me wings. My writing needs no audience. It bears witness to itself. I write because it makes me feel alive and significant. I write because I express myself best that way. My brain moves so fast that my mouth can’t keep up. So writing is my one chance at taking what’s on the inside of my mind and manifesting it in the material realm.  In a world with so many distractions that exact a heavy toll on introverts like me, writing is my refuge, a welcome escape. It’s my happy place, my soft place to land. I write because there’s nothing else I would rather do, ever. They say you shouldn’t need a lover; you should want one. So sure, I don’t need to write. I want to write. But I want it badly. I want it all the time like a hot new crush. In my universe, writing is bae.



Sandisile Tshuma is a Zimbabwean storyteller, health, development and human rights practitioner who has studied molecular and cellular biology, public health, disaster management and acting from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), the National University of Science and Technology (Zimbabwe) and the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (United Kingdom).
Sandisile has a professional background in monitoring, evaluation and communication in sexual and reproductive health programmes with the United Nations and other International Organizations in East and Southern Africa. She is an award winning short story writer, the founding editor of AntuAke online magazine, and has curated a personal blog for five years. Sandisile's short stories, "Arrested Development" and "The Need" were published by amaBooks Publishing in two anthologies of Zimbabwean short stories. "Arrested Development" won an Honourable Mention for the 2010 Thomas Pringle Award in the short story category, has been translated into a number of languages and is included in an anthology titled "When The Sun Goes Down", a set book in the Kenyan English language curriculum at secondary school level. The Need has been translated into isiNdebele. Her first full length book, "Dandelion Dreaming," tells the story of marginalised youth in South Africa using the "photo-voice" methodology. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sudanese Author Wins 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing


Reproduced from https://publishingperspectives.com/2017/07/sudan-author-caine-prize-african-writing/


The 2017 Caine Prize anthology, 'The Goddess of Mtwara and Other Stories', will be published by amaBooks in Zimbabwe in August 2017.

IFrom Wasafiri and the Caine Prize: Bushra al-Fadil, whose inspirations include Stephen Hawking’s ‘A Brief History of Time,’ is cited for his ‘mode of perception.’

By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘Relentless Threats to Freedom’

Bushra al-Fadil
Sudanese author Bushra al-Fadil has won the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing for his short story “The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away,” translated by Max Shmookler.
The story is published in The Book of Khartoum: A City in Short Fiction (Comma Press, UK, 2016).
The chair of judges, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, announced al-Fadil as the winner of the £10,000 (US$12,970) prize at an awards dinner on July 3. The event was held at Senate House, London, in partnership with SOAS University of London, as part of its centenary celebrations. The prize money is to be split between the author and translator, £7,000 for al-Fadil and £3,000 to Shmookler.
“The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away” is described as a picture of life in a bustling market as seen through the eyes of the narrator, who’s enchanted by a beautiful woman he sees there one day. After a series of brief encounters, an unexpected tragedy hits the woman and her young female companion.
Speaking for the jury, Nii Ayikwei Parkes praised the story, saying:
“The winning story is one that explores through metaphor and an altered, inventive mode of perception–including, for the first time in the Caine Prize, illustration–the allure of, and relentless threats to, freedom.
“Rooted in a mix of classical traditions as well as the vernacular contexts of its location, al-Fadil’s ‘The Story of the Girl Whose Birds Flew Away’ is at once a very modern exploration of how assaulted from all sides and unsupported by those we would turn to for solace we can became mentally exiled in our own lands, edging in to a fantasy existence where we seek to cling to a sort of freedom until ultimately we slip into physical exile.”
Bushra al-Fadil is a Sudanese writer currently living in Saudi Arabia. His most recent collection, Above a City’s Sky, was published in 2012, the same year al-Fadil won the al-Tayeb Salih Short Story Award.
After the announcement that he had made the Caine Prize shortlist, al-Fadil was interviewed by the magazine Wasafiri: International Contemporary Writing.
Wasafiri: Tell us about your story ‘The Story of the Girls whose Birds Flew Away’. What inspired you to write it?
al-Fadil: I would rather prefer it to be translated ‘The Girl whose Sparrows Flew Away’, not Birds. To give the exact title as I wrote it. This short story was written in Arabic on 1979 but translated in English recently. It is my second short story. At that time women in my country were facing violence, sexual harassment and brutality of all kinds. I’m sorry to see women in my country are still facing the same.
Wasafiri: What’s next for you?
al-Fadil: I’m writing now my third novel. Setting it in what might happen to my country in 2084 after one hundred years of the famous novel 1984.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Kirillov across Cultures: The Great Zimbabwean Novel




Tendai Huchu in conversation with Jeanne-Marie Jackson
Durham University, Friday 15 Sep 2017, 17.30
as part of the Transnational Russian Studies seminar programme
https://www.dur.ac.uk/owri/subprojects/events/trs/programme/



Tendai Huchu's second novel, The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician, channels Dostoevsky’s Demons at key points as it abandons an issues-based linear plot in favour of three zany novellas braided together. The story is in the fabric of the novel itself, as it gets snagged on the vacant opportunities of global downward mobility and flailing diasporic national opposition politics. The Maestro, the Magistrate, and the Mathematician, in its invocation of Russian influence, captures Huchu's propensity for formal experimentalism and philosophical depth. In a conversation with Johns Hopkins professor and literary critic, Jeanne-Marie Jackson, Huchu will discuss his efforts to capture and play with the widespread cynicism of our moment. Jeanne-Marie Jackson writes of the influence of Dostoevsky's Demons on Huchu's novel in a chapter titled 'The Russian Novel of Ideas in Southern Africa' in a forthcoming work.

Dostoevsky’s Demons is, according to Ronald Hingley, scholar and specialist in Russian history and literature, “one of humanitys most impressive achievements—perhaps even its supreme achievement—in the art of prose fiction.”

Huchu’s multi-genre short stories and nonfiction have appeared in the Manchester ReviewInterzoneSpace and Time MagazineEllery Queen Mystery MagazineAfrica ReportWasafiriYear’s Best CrimeMystery Stories 2016, and elsewhere. Between projects, he translates fiction between the Shona and English languages. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Caine Prize, and in 2017 for the Nommo Awards for Speculative Fiction. Find him @TendaiHuchu.

Huchu has two short stories to be published soon in Zimbabwe by amaBooks, in Moving On and other stories from Zimbabwe and in The Goddess of Mtwara, the 2017 Caine Prize for African Writing anthology.




The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician is published in Zimbabwe by amaBooks, in the UK by Parthian Books, in North America by Ohio University Press, in Germany by Peter Hammer and in Nigeria by Kachifo.