Registered under the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe

18 January 2011

WINZ Newsletter, Issue No 10

Welcome to our tenth issue of the Win-Zimbabwe Newsletter. Please keep the pen rolling!



By Beaven Tapureta
Newsday, Jan 18 2011

The late legendary writer, Dambudzo Charles Marechera (pictured), will be brought back to life through a commemorative e-book, whose publication will coincide with what would have been the eccentric writer’s 59th birthday.

Marechera died in 1987, but his works have continued to dominate the local and international literary canon.
The e-book will be published by StoryTime Publishing, an online initiative by Zimbabwean writer, publisher and visual artist, Ivor Hartmann.

“To celebrate Dambudzo Marechera’s posthumous 59th birthday this year I will be putting together an e-book anthology entitled Remembering Marechera, consisting of essays, reviews, short stories and poems that follow this theme, to be published by StoryTime Publishing,” said Hartmann.

Editors for this project are Zimbabwean writers Emmanuel Sigauke, who will take care of the poetry and Tinashe Mushakavanhu who will edit essays while Hartmann himself will edit the short stories.

This memorial publication will add on to the endless accolades stalking the late Marechera, who has been described as the “enfant terrible of African literature”.

In the past, commentaries, conferences and poetry slams focusing on Marechera’s life have been published and held locally and internationally, with the biggest being the conference hosted by Oxford University in 2009.

The conference, attended by local writers Memory Chirere and Tinashe Mushakavanhu, was dubbed “Dambudzo Marechera: A Celebration”. Hartmann is calling for contributions in the form of essays, poems, stories, which must be sent before April 6 this year. The length of contributions is restricted to between 1 000-5 000 words.

While literary friends and academics continue to honour the enigmatic writer, less is known about the Dambudzo Marechera Trust that was set up after his passing in 1987 in Zimbabwe to promote the publication of Marechera’s unpublished works and to encourage young writers.

Marechera’s House of Hunger (Heinemann Educational Publishers, 1978), an incandescent anthology of short stories, won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979.

House of Hunger also made Marechera “the mouthpiece of that lost generation of young Zimbabweans who found themselves oppressed by the colonial regime, and who were either alienated from their own culture or subjected to an alien culture in exile”, according to biographer Flora Veit Wild, (1987.)

Submissions: By email only to:

By Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe
The Herald, January 17 2011

There is another forum for writers created last year called Writers International Network Zimbabwe.
 WIN is headed by Beaven Tapureta, a creative writer and editor, who has contributed several articles on Zimbabwean literature and its writers to several forums including The Herald.
Last week, we published his moving obituary of the late Julius Chingono whose last public performance was at a WIN end of year gathering at the Book Café late last year.
Asked on the motive behind forming WIN when there are so many other organizations representing writers in the country, Tapureta said his organization was not duplicating the same functions as others.
“This is a network for writers across the divide and it transcends all groupings like gender. We are open to all Zimbabwean writers including those who are now foreign based and those who were born in this country,” Tapureta clarified.
With names like Emmanuel Sigauke, Christopher Mlalazi and Sarudzayi Barnes on top of the heavy weights, WIN has certainly made big progress in getting everyone on board.
They also have aspiring writers including schoolchildren and are looking at using the former group to develop the latter.
“We are saying that there is no need to re-invent the wheel. The established writers have gone through problems like finding a publisher and getting a script rejected.
There is no need for the emerging writers to fail to use the experience gained by those who have done it before to go straight ahead without repeating the same mistakes,” Tapureta said
Tapureta says that WIN further aims to help new writers get published and that they are planning on publishing an anthology this year.
“The money from royalties will help those contributing writers at the grass roots who really have no resource to develop their writing careers.
“We are losing a lot of talent through young writers who are discouraged from pursuing their dream in the field as they have  to concentrate on other professions to sustain themselves,” he expressed one of the motivating factors behind the formation of WIN.
Asked on whether one could say that the lack of a reading culture in the country is the reason why the writing profession is not very lucrative for the majority, Tapureta strongly disagreed.
“That is not true. You cannot run away from the fact that Zimbabweans love reading. It is almost impossible to travel on public transport and not see at least one person immersed in a book of some kind.
“What is happening perhaps is that the readers seem to prefer foreign writers to the local ones. Instead of crying about how the West is stealing our market, I think the challenge is for the local writer to find out what makes Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and others so popular and adapt that to our own writing.”
Perhaps this becomes a fundamental question as to whether a writer should write with the reader in mind or just express themselves and hope that the public will want to pay to read the final product.
Should writers view themselves as entrepreneurs who need to tailor their products to suit the market in order to increase sales or should they maintain the stance that they are pure artists who produce for the sake of the art and monetary gain is incidental?
This is a question that each individual writer can only answer on their own behalf but it is undeniable that fame and fortune are the ultimate goal of many.
The Board of WIN is made up of Josephine Muganiwa (chairperson), Edwin Mhandu, Phillip Chidavaenzi, Ivor W Hartmann, Sarudzayi Barnes, Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Emmanuel Sigauke, Christopher Mlalazi and Beaven Tapureta.
The late Julius Chingono was the tenth member and is yet to be replaced.
According to Tapureta, in the long run WIN looks at establishing an academy to train writers. And that makes sense.
Already the need for a film and TV script writing academy has been highlighted as most productions fail to come up to scratch with awful scripts being blamed for the problem.
Names like Aaron Chiundura-Moyo come to mind as some of the resource people who could pass on their skills in the writing category. He has proved himself an accomplished author with his novel Ziva Kwawakabva being a classic.
He successfully adapted it for TV besides producing other dramas that were well-received. When Studio 263 started airing with Chiundura-Moyo heading the script, it was a major success.
His departure from the soap seemed to mark its decline into the lackluster production that it has become.
Chiundura-Moyo’s own soap Tiriparwendo was well-known for its outstanding language usage and drama.
Should this organisation succeed in its goals, then the Zimbabwean writer and the reader all stand to WIN.

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