Goretti Kyomuhendo was the featured author at the monthly event that the Uganda Women Writers’ Association popularly known as Femrite hosted at its offices in Kampala on March 20th 2017.
Femrite is the well-known brand but its formal name is the Uganda Women Writers’ Association. The association, which is in its twentieth year, was founded to ensure that women writers were published as at that bleak time in the 1990s they were really marginalised. Their method was to give women writers access to opportunities for training and exposure like residencies, workshops, award entries and everything in between.
One of the most beloved of their programs is the “author of the month” hosted at the Femrite Courtyard in Kira Road, Kampala, Uganda. This event allows readers to meet writers both established and new both women AND men. They are cool like that.
Some of the Uganda writers and poets who have featured in the past are names like children’s author Eva Barongo, Austin Bukenya, Jennifer Makumbi Nasubuga, Timothy Wangusa, Beverly Nambozo, Hannah Saint, Dr Susan Kiguli, Julius Ocwinyo, Ernest Bazanye, and Bwesigye Bwa Mwesigire.
It’s not just Ugandans who have gotten the opportunity to be featured. Some of those who crossed borders to do this event are Noviolet Bulawayo, Prof Taban Lo Liyong, Oduor Jagero, Ciku Kimeria, Michael Onsando, Chuma Nwokolo, Prof Remi Raji, Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Kgafela Magogodi, and Ellen Banda Aaku.
This month, the featured writer was Goretti Kyomuhendo. In the last couple of years she has become associated with the African Writers Trust which she founded in 2009 and directs. This was after a long stint as co-founder of Femrite and directing it for ten years. The reality is that she is actually a writer of no mean repute with books like The First Daughter (1996), Secrets No More (1999), Waiting: A Novel of Uganda’s Hidden War (2007) as well as graphic novel Sara and the Boy Soldier (2001). She has also written Justus Saves His Uncle and A Chance to Survive both children’s books published in 2008.
There was a decent showing for Goretti as she was to do a reading of her most acclaimed book Waiting: A Novel of Uganda’s Hidden War.
Apart from doing the reading, she stated how excited she was to see that FEMRITE has moved to establish itself as a global literary organisation from a small voiceless organisation that it was 20 years ago at its start.
“When I went to live in London I learnt a lot from their culture mannerisms. But they too had a lot to learn from me because they had to deal with me and my cultural mannerisms from Uganda,” she said.
In the audience was literary legend Taban Lo Liyong.
The next Author for April will be poet and storyteller Phillipa Namutebi Kabali Kagwa on 10th April at FEMRITE courtyard.