Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

12 November 2010

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 6

It looks like at Writers International Network Zimbabwe we will close our year in style! Stay tuned, don’t miss the next issue of our newsletter.

African Roar: An Anthology for Only the Best Stories

By Fungai Machirori

(Review first published in Wordsetc#8 August 2010), photos> top: Ivor W Hartmann and below: Emmanuel Sigauke)

An African roar will begin to reverberate throughout the continent’s literary scene with the release of African Roar, an anthology of stories drawn from the best short fiction featured in the popular African e-zine, StoryTime.

The first edition of the anthology, which is to be published from this year onwards, takes the reader into the lives and circumstances of such a vast array of characters that it is hard to believe that there are only 11 stories to be savoured, stories written by some of the continent’s emerging and established authors.

Throughout the anthology, the reader takes a journey into the mind of a teenager who watches how a mythical tree causes an irreparable rapture between religion and tradition within a community. The reader is also taken behind closed doors of an HIV test, visits rural Ghana where an unlikely love burgeons between two intriguing characters and watches the renegotiation of the relationship between two men, old foes due to the circumstances of war.

Of the 11 writers in this anthology, there is a predominance of Zimbabweans (six in total) and this can be explained variously – either by the fact that StoryTime is a product of Zimbabwean author Ivor W Hartmann (who is also the anthology’s co-editor and one of its contributors); or by the reality of the scarcity, for so long, of publishing opportunities for many Zimbabwe’s talented writers.

Regardless of the reasons, it is refreshing to note that the stories written by these Zimbabweans move away from entrenchment in themes of socio-political and economic strife – themes which have been widely interrogated over the last decade, allowing even for the glorification of much mediocre literature due to its difficult subject matter. Instead, the stories here describe personal pain and yearnings – many of which are products of the status quo – without making politics their locus of minute detailing and attention.

And this is true of the whole anthology, in fact. These are stories about the banal, beautiful and even the bizarre things that happen, could happen, in everyday life.

Every story in this eclectic anthology is enlightening – in tone, imagery and content. Many lines left me smiling in awe at the amazing depth of imagination and description each writer obviously possesses and wields with their own unique flair.

African Roar is indeed a must read for followers of African literature. And if this first edition is anything to go by, this is one roar whose echoes will reach far across the world.

(Fungai Rufaro Machirori is a published poet, short story writer, journalist, blogger and researcher working in the field of HIV and AIDS communication)

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