Friday, 26 June 2009

Amhlope to Irene Staunton and NoViolet M. Bulawayo

According to Tinashe Mushakavanhu'e report, Irene Staunton and NoViolet M. Bulawayo have been nominated for the 2009 PEN/Studzinski Literary Award. To my two compatriots I say makorokoto - amhlope. To be shortlisted after 827 entries from African authors, as reported by Tinashe, is ample proof that your literary accomplishments and contributions are of unquestionable quality. I am brimming with pride.

Friday, 12 June 2009

A Celebratory Jig for Chris Mlalazi

No folks, that's not me. That is one of the illustrations that may be included in Ngano dzeVapwere. The Shona stories are totally unrelated to the English folktales in African Folktales for Children.

I could not help but post it. It fits the moment. Think of the fella doing a traditional celebratory jig for the successful publication of Chris Mlalazi's book, Many Rivers.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I Was Inspired by Sarudzayi Barnes - Janine Dube

Zimbabwe's latest writer, Janine Dube, was recently interviewed by ZIMNET Radio. Asked to name writers who inspired her, "Sarudzayi Barnes," she said while naming some of the most prominent African writers like Chinua Achebe, Shimmer Chinodya, Charles Mungoshi and Dambudzo Marechera. Coming from another writer, that is a ringing endorsement of Sarudzayi Barnes.

This simply reinforces what I have often said to Mrs Barnes, a writer, business owner and aspiring farmer, everytime she mentions the cold shoulder her books get from certain Zimbabwean literary quarters - just keep on putting a good product because people who matter will notice.

Oh, by the way, it is apparent Janine just shuts up and writes. Good for her

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Sarudzai Mabvakure and Janine Dube; Two Zimbabwean Women Doing Their Writing Quietly

The Zimbabwean has a review of Sarudzai Mabvakure's book, A Disappointing Truth – The Tragic Story of Sarah Witt. Another Zimbabwean writer, Janine Dube, has her book, A Dark Horizon, reviewed on the New Zimbabwe site. To these two Zimbabwean women doing their writing quietly, congratulations.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Shut Up and Read First!

The crowd at the Herald needs to calm down. One of the scribes, Richmore Tera, read Petina Gappah’s book. He did not like what was in it. Like respondent Masimba said on Petina’s blog entry, the scribes at the "Ministry of Truth" had been shouting and hollering about Petina's book without having read it. Now that they have read the book, they are raising Cain from the dead. What were they expecting?

Anyone who has followed Petina's opinion editorials on The Zimbabwe Times will not be surprised to learn that she lampoons the Zimbabwean oligarchy in her book. When she decided to write a book, did anyone think she had suddenly had an epiphany like Saul of Tarsus on his way to Damascus? To quote Masimba, again, the Zimbabwean oligarchy better brace itself for a torrent of bitter truth, if they somehow think of fiction as truth. If what Petina writes about has a ring of truth to it, I would not be surprised. Like Petina, we are all President Mugabe's children. We have known him to speak his mind. Some behavioural traits are acquired, you know. As the saying goes, like father like children or something along those lines - mbudzi kudya mufenje hufana nyina. It is not a crime, is it?

I hope this is also a big lesson for Zimbabweans, especially in the literary circle. Instead of yammering about books without reading them, one or two bloggers have been guilty of this - why not wait for a copy first? To borrow from Sigauke’s sagacious admonishment, shut up and read first! There are some writers who have given free copies to potential reviewers – what the recipients do with the books is another story altogether. Richmore Tera could have asked for a copy prior to accepting Petina's invitation, that way he would have known what he was dealing with from the get go. What we have now is the reverse of Mark Anthony’s elegy for Julius Caesar – pan intended. Richmore came to praise Petina but ended up attempting to bury her, metaphorically speaking. Zvino Ishe Tera vakazokorwa nemhanga yemahara pedzisire vowonekwa semunhu asina maturo.

I have not read Petina's book since I have been grappling with work assignments and have a deadline to meet. As soon as I have enough breathing room, I will read it and find out for myself what all the noise is all about. I will write a review, assuming I would have won my war against snails and pigeons by then.