Writivism has unveiled its mentors for 2017. Those mentoring in English will be, Chuma Nwokolo, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Dami Ajayi, Yewande Omotoso, Tiah Beautement, Tendai Rinos Mwanaka, Emmanuel Iduma, Karen Jennings, and Lidudumalingani. In French mentoring will be done by Richard Ali, Marcus Boni TEIGA, and Pierre Cherruau.
Writivism, the project of writing as activism, has built itself for many things including a literary festival that features some of the continent’s most respected voices in the African literary community. One of its most unique features however has to be its mentor program where well-known writers offer to help upcoming names to improve their stories. At the end of a period, these stories are then entered in the Writivism Short Story Prize and also feature in an anthology.
In the last few years, the winners of the prize in the last few years were names like Acan Innocent (Uganda) in 2016, Pemi Aguda (Nigeria) in 2015, Saaleha Idrees Bamjee (South Africa) in 2014, and Anthea Paelo (Uganda) in 2013. The anthologies that have been produced include Roses For Betty And Other Stories, Fire in the Night and other stories, and The Writivism Anthology 2013.
The next generation of writers, Writivism’s class of 2017, are all set to be part of the tradition that Writivism has been nurturing over the last few years. They had already entered their work to be considered for this year’s mentoring. So who will this year’s mentors be? They come from all over this rock we call home and will be looking at stories in both English and French. They are;
Chuma is the founder of the literary magazine African Writing with my old friend, Afam Akeh. Hi novels and short story collections include The Extortionist (1983) and Dangerous Inheritance (1988), African Tales at Jailpoint (1999), One More Tale for the Road (2003), Diaries of a Dead African (2003), The Ghost of Sani Abacha (2012), How to Spell Naija in 100 Short Stories Volumes 1 (2013), and 2 (2016). His stories have found foster homes in the London Review of Books, La Internazionale, AGNI, MTLS, Arzenal, and Sentinel, among places. His poetry collections include Memories of Stone (2006) and The Final Testament of a Minor God (2014), and The Extinction of Menai.
Yewande Omotoso was born in Barbados, she grew up in Ile-Ife, Nigeria and Cape Town South Africa and currently lives in Johannesburg. An architect, she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town. Her debut novel ‘Bomboy’ (Modjaji Books), was shortlisted for the 2012 Sunday Times Fiction Prize, the MNet Film Award and the 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literature. It won the South African Literary Award First Time Author Prize. Her short stories include ‘How About The Children’ in Kalahari Review, ‘Things Are Hard’ in the 2012 Caine Prize Anthology, ‘Fish’ published in The Moth Literary Journal and ‘The Leftovers’ in One World Two. Yewande was a 2013 Norman Mailer Fellow and a 2014 Etisalat Fellow. In 2015 she was a Miles Morland Scholar. Yewande’s second novel ‘The Woman Next Door’ (Chatto and Windus) was published in May 2016.
Tendai Rinos Mwanaka
Tendai Rinos Mwanaka is a multi-disciplinary artist who lives in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Books published include among others, Zimbabwe: The Urgency of Now (creative nonfiction), Finding a Way Home (stories novel), Revolution (poems), Playing To Love’s Gallery (poetry), Pearls of Awareness (poetry). Curator and editor of the following anthologies, Democracy, Good Governacne and Development in Africa, Best New African Poets Anthologies, Zimbolicious Poetry Anthology, Experimental Writing African Vs Latin America Anthology. He is also a published and exhibited visual artist (photography, painting, drawing, collage, video.) represented by Arna Gallery, Sweden. A sound/musical artist, mentor, translator, scholar, theorist, reviewer, critic… Work has been published in over 400 journals in over 27 countries, translated into French, Germany and Spanish.
Dami Ajayi is a poet, short story writer and medical doctor. His acclaimed book of poems, Clinical Blues, was shortlisted for 2012 Melita Hume Prize and 2015 ANA Poetry Prize. His electronic chapbook, Daybreak and other poems, published in 2013 garnered an massive online readership. On the strength of both collections, he has been described as “one of the new voices in African poetry”. His fiction has appeared online as well as in print in several anthologies including Jalada, Brittlepaper, Itch magazine, Kalahari Review, Gambit: Newer African Writing and Songhai 12: New Nigerian Voices. His music reviews, book reviews and other writings have appeared in the Guardian UK, Wawa Review of Books, OlisaTV, NaijCom, Bakwa Magazine and elsewhere. Dami Ajayi, besides being the co-publisher/founder of Saraba Magazine, also serves on her board and edits fiction for the publication. His hugely anticipated second poetry collection tentatively called ‘The World According to Affection’ will released later this year.
Tiah Marie Beautement was born and raised in small town Oregon in the USA. Her university education was spread between St Mary’s in California and University of Cape Town. After graduation she found herself in the UK, picking up a South African husband, two children and a second citizenship (UK). In 2008 she moved to South Africa with her family. They live in the southern Cape on the Garden Route, with their dogs and a small flock of chickens. She splits her time between writing, running writing workshops for children and doing book review for the Sunday Times. Tiah’s short stories can be found scattered over the internet and in various magazines and anthologies. This Day is her second novel (Modjaji, August 2014).
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer based in Manchester. She has a PhD from Lancaster University. Jennifer has taught Creative Writing and English for the last ten years in British Universities. Her novel, Kintu, won the Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013. It was published in 2014 and was longlisted for the Etisalat Prize 2014. Jennifer’s short story, Lets Tell This Story Properly won the regional (Africa) and overall Commonwealth Short story prize 2014. In 2015 she won an Arts Council Grant to research her second novel, The First Woman was Fish. Jennifer is currently working on a collection of short stories set in Manchester, UK which will form her third book.
Emmanuel Iduma, a writer and art critic, is the author of the novel The Sound of Things to Come and A Stranger’s Pose, a forthcoming book of travel stories. His essays have been published in several journals and exhibition catalogues. He trained as a lawyer in Nigeria, and graduated from the MFA program in Art Writing at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he now teaches.
Lidudumalingani is a writer, filmmaker and photographer. In 2016 he was awarded the Caine Prize for African writing for his short story Memories We Lost and the Miles Morland Scholarship, which will see him spend a year writing his debut novel titled Let Your Children Name Themselves. His writing has appeared in newspapers, online platforms and literature journals like Chimurenga and Prufrock. His films have been screened at international festivals and his photographs exhibited in Cape Town.
Ukamaka Olisakwe (screenwriter, novelist, nonfiction writer; Nigeria) writes TV scripts (most recently the series “The Calabash”), essays, short stories, and has one novel. Selected in 2014 by the Africa39 Project as one of the continent’s most promising writers under the age of 40, she has had her work appear in the New York Times and on the BBC, as well as been published in Jalada, Saraba, Sentinel Nigeria and Short Story Day Africa. She participated in the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, and was a 2016 guest writer of City of Asylum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Karen Jennings was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1982, but now lives in Goiania, Brazil. She holds Masters degrees in both English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town, as well as a PhD in English Literature from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Her debut novel, Finding Soutbek was published in 2012 by Holland Park Press and was shortlisted for inaugural Etisalat Prize for African Fiction. In 2014 her short story collection, Away from the Dead, was longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International short story competition. Her memoir, Travels with my Father, was published in November 2016 by Holland Park Press. Karen is currently a Miles Morland scholar and is working on a fiction manuscript.
Pierre Cherruau est né en 1969 à Dunkerque, mais c’est dans le sud-ouest de la France, à Bordeaux, qu’il vit la plus grande partie de sa jeunesse, dans la banlieue plus précisément, à laquelle il reste profondément attaché. Après ses études secondaires, il “fait” Sciences-Po, puis intègre le Centre de formation des journalistes, et occupe aujourd’hui le poste de chef du service Afrique à l’hebdomadaire “Courrier International”. Il est aussi l’auteur de plusieurs romans policier et noir qui se déroule le plus souvent au Nigéria. Nena Rastaqouère, Lagos 666, Nok en stock, Chien fantôme, De Dakar à Paris : un voyage à petites foulées sont quelques-unes de ses œuvres.
Marcus Boni Teiga
Journaliste depuis une trentaine d’années et fondateur de Courrier des Afriques, Marcus Boni Teiga est aussi écrivain, antiquisant et spécialiste de la Nubie. Il est auteur de plusieurs ouvrages d’investigations notamment: La Nubie et les origines des peuples d’Afrique Tome I, La Nubie et les origines africaines des peuples, des langues et des religions du monde Tome II, La Nubie et les origines de la langue mère unique Tome III, aux Editions Dagan en France, du roman intitulé Le fantôme de Cotonou paru aux Editions Nei/Ceda à Abidjan en Côte d’Ivoire, Prix de l’édition 2016 au Salon international du livre d’Abidjan (SILA) et parmi les cinq finalistes duPrix Ivoire 2016. Co-auteur de Journalisme 2.0 nouvelles formes journalistiques, nouvelles compétences à La Documentation française à Paris, il a collaboré à de nombreuses publications panafricaines et internationales. Lauréat en journalisme de la Fondation Reuter en 1994, Marcus Boni Teiga a reçu aussi en octobre 2014 à Bruxelles en Belgique le Prix International Imhotep pour l’ensemble de son oeuvre sur la Nubie Antique. Richard Ali Journaliste depuis une trentaine d’années et fondateur de Courrier des Afriques, Marcus Boni Teiga est aussi écrivain, antiquisant et spécialiste de la Nubie. Il est auteur de plusieurs ouvrages d’investigations notamment: La Nubie et les origines des peuples d’Afrique Tome I, La Nubie et les origines africaines des peuples, des langues et des religions du monde
Tome II, La Nubie et les origines de la langue mère unique Tome III, aux Editions Dagan en France, du roman intitulé Le fantôme de Cotonou paru aux Editions Nei/Ceda à Abidjan en Côte d’Ivoire, Prix de l’édition 2016 au Salon international du livre d’Abidjan (SILA) et parmi les cinq finalistes duPrix Ivoire 2016. Co-auteur de Journalisme 2.0 nouvelles formes journalistiques, nouvelles compétences à La Documentation française à Paris, il a collaboré à de nombreuses publications panafricaines et internationales. Lauréat en journalisme de la Fondation Reuter en 1994, Marcus Boni Teiga a reçu aussi en octobre 2014 à Bruxelles en Belgique le Prix International Imhotep pour l’ensemble de son oeuvre sur la Nubie Antique.
Richard Ali A Mutu, plus connu sous Richard Ali, est un écrivain congolais vivant à Kinshasa. Il figure parmi les 39 meilleurs jeunes écrivains subsahariens âgés de moins de 40 ans révélés par l’Anthologie Africa39 préfacée par Wole Soyinka, et lauréat d’autres prix littéraires dont le Prix Mark Twain en 2009. Sa particularité est qu’il écrit en Français et en Lingala. Son dernier roman, “EBAMBA, Kinshasa Makambo” écrit en lingala, vient d’être traduit et publié en anglais par Phoneme media, sous le titre de “Mr FIX-IT”. Il participe activement depuis un temps aux initiatives de plusieurs plateformes littéraires dont JALADA, WRITIVISM, PEN-RDC, etc. Fondateur de “La Plume Upcienne”, de l’Association des Jeunes Écrivains du Congo (AJECO), et présentateur d’une émission littéraire à la télévision (“B-one, Littératures”), il travaille actuellement comme Responsable de la Bibliothèque Wallonie-Bruxelles à Kinshasa.