The other weekend I was in Kampala for the Writivism Festival 2013. This is a new initiative based in the Ugandan city to “connect literature to reality.” In English it is for the purpose of nurturing young writers and giving them a platform to shine. The brains behind the whole thing is Makerere University professor Brian Bwesigye who should you meet in him at the guest house having a beer you’d think it was one of the students.
The process of the competition was a pretty simple one. A call out was made where writers would submit stories on the themes of Diversity, Equality and Identity. The judges Zukiswa Wanner (Chair), Ayodelle Morroco-Clarke and Ernest Bazanye then announced a shortlist of five of the best that followed them. These stories were published in The Monitor Newspaper and readers were asked to vote for their favourites.
The winner Anthea Paelo (pictured) emerged with first runner up as Nassanga Rashidah and second runner up Kathryn Kazibwe. Paelo took home a one-year writing contract with Simua worth UGX1,000,000/= (US$387), a ticket to the Women, Words and Power Breakfast in Johannesburg, South Africa, a copy of Onyeka Nwelue’s Abyssinian Boy, a copy of Zukiswa Wanner’s Men of the South and KWANI? 7.
Her winning story is Picture Frames a touching tale about a woman who loses her beloved son. The boy has taken his own life because he is gay and she is left devastated by it all. Sadly for the boy his father is not even remorseful that he lost his only child because of his condition… wait is being gay a condition? Anyway the story is set in Uganda which is interesting considering just how much the Ugandan establishment is a fan of those who will date their own. To read the story please click here.