Naledi Mashishi and Relebone Myambo were announced as the new residents of the Blackbird Books/Casa Lorde Residency 2019 on September 16, 2019.
Blackbird Books headed by Thabiso Mahlape, provides a publishing home to both new voices and the existing generation of black writers. Since they were set up in 2015, they have published, among others, Lerato Mogoathle’s Vagabond, Esinako Ndabeni and Sihle Mthembu’s Born To Kwaito, Bonang Matheba’s From A to B, Injangolet S. Ogwang’s An Image in a Mirror, and Panashe Chigumadzi’s Sweet Medicine.
Blackbird Books in conjunction with Casa Lorde and Eunice Ngogodo Own Voices Initiative, earlier this year, set up a writer’s residency for young womxn between 18 and 40 years old from any African country starting their careers as writers. The callout for the residency, which would be four weeks long, was made to writers of all literary genres: novel, poetry, essay, storytelling, narration, theatre, etc.
The winners of the first edition are Naledi Mashishi and Relebone Myambo. Naledi Refilwe Mashishi is a journalism and politics student from Rhodes University whose work has already featured in publications like Huffington Post, Africa is a Country, and OkayAfrica. She received the Student Journalist of the Year award from the Wits Journalism Department in 2018.
Relebone Myambo was the Social Media Manager for the Abantu Book Festival in 2018. Myambo who currently works as a copywriter and proof-reader with Heartlines in Johannesburg uses the penname Relebone Rirhandzu eAfrika for her writing.
The two writers stay in the residency and get R5,000 for basic expenses during their stay.