It was all going down in Kampala, Uganda as writers from around continent converged for the 2015 edition of the Uganda International Writers’ Conference.
There was a large number of events from 1st to 6th March with the theme some free and some paid with the theme, Memoir and Truth. Some of the highlights for visitors to the festival included Presentations from Successful Literary Initiatives in Africa with Timwa Lipenga of the Malawi Women Writers, Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire of Writivism, Sahro Ahmed of the Putland Women Writers Association and Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva of the Babishai Niwe Poetry Foundation on the panel. This event was moderated by Mildred Barya.
Then there was a discussion on the African Literary Renaissance: Return to Glory or Superficial Gloss? This one had Dr Susan Kiguli (Uganda) as provocateur an and was chaired by Dr Danson Kahyana (Uganda).
Another of the was: Space and identity in African writing: Writing Beyond the West. In this panel four African writers living and working in the Diaspora will explore these intriguing questions. They were Jennifer Makumbi (Uganda/ UK), Noo Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria/UK), Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria/ USA), Julianne Okot Bitek (Uganda/Cananda). Moderating was Goretti Kyomuhendo (Uganda/UK)
Then there was a personal favourite: The Rise of Digital Literature and Publishing: Re-examining the Book Business in the 21st Centur. This one had Dilman Dila (Uganda) Lawino Literary and Magazine Melissa Kyeyune ( Uganda) Khamel Publishers as panellists and it was moderated by Jackee Budesta Batanda (Uganda)
Then there was, The Shift from Journalism to Nonfiction: Challenges for African writers with Michela Wrong (UK) and Daniel Kalinaki (Uganda) as panellists.
Also top of the mind for many right now was: Literary Prizes and Contests for African writers Focus on: The Etisalat Prize for Literature and The Africa39 Project. These were discussed by Chinelo Okparanta (Nigeria), Jackee Budesta Batanda (Uganda), Glaydah Namukasa (Uganda), Songeziwe Mahlangu (South Africa), Emma D’Costa (Commonwealth Writers, UK) and moderated by Julianne Okot Bitek (Uganda/Canada)
The highlight had to be the keynote speech by Prof. Zakes Mda the writer of many novels. For purposes of this speech the book in focus was his 2011 book Sometimes There’s A Void. Yep. The presentation was called: Memoir as Remembered Narrative.
Away from the hardcore discussions there were also poetry and dance performances and reading galore. For the blow by account of the events I suggest you use the folloing links.
- Day 1, Morning sessions: Presentations from Successful Literary Initiatives in Africa
- Day 1, Afternoon Session: at Femrite Readers/Writers Club in Kamwokya
- Day 2, African Literary Renaissance: Return to Glory or Superficial Gloss?
- Day 2, evening session:Keynote speech by Prof. Zakes Mda
- Day 3, The Rise of Digital Literature and Publishing: Re-examining the Book Business in the 21st Century
- Day 4, morning session: Literary prizes and Contests for African writers