Celebrating East African Writing!
Over the last 12 weeks, you, Storymoja Friend have been included in a writing exercise that has more than revealed what we, Kenyans, think about. Thanks you for your participation and support.
Below are the semi-finalists to the Storymoja Generation Kenya Kenyan Conversations Writing Contest. As the judges make their decisions, you too have a chance to ‘Be the Judge.’
Below are links to the conversations if you need to reread them.
The winners of this contest will recieve cash prizes, Storymoja books and tickets to the Storymoja Hay Festival. But this does not mean that the rest of you will be left out. All members of the Storymoja Community who have contributed to the blog by submitting stories will stand a chance to be chosen in a draw to receive day passes to the Storymoja Hay Festival. This is our thank you for your support and participation in the Writer’s blog over the past 12 months.
To register for the draw, send us an email with your name and the title of at least one of your submissions that was published on the Writers’ Blog. Send this to firstname.lastname@example.org before 11.59pm East African Time of Sunday, 26th September 2010.
As you may have noticed from the announcements, the Storymoja Hay Festival 2010 season is here. The Festival itself will be on October 1 to 3, 2010 at the Railways Club Grounds.
I decided that it might be nice to share the experience of one person who attended last year’s festival. After reading her short experience, please visit the Storymoja Hay Festival Event Page. You can also keep up with us on Twitter and on Facebook.
I came to the Storymoja-Hay festival with several aims: Get my manuscripts critiqued, meet published authors to listen to their experience and learn as much as I could about writing. My fears were that published writers would have their noses in the air, consider themselves more special than mere unpublished mortals and talk in ways I could not relate to. What a joy it was to find that not only did the festival fulfill all my expectations but that all the authors I meet were super encouraging. I left the festival with ideas streaming out of my ears and feeling very positive about the potential of being a writer at this moment of time in Kenya, despite the hurdles.
The first pages of my manuscripts were scrutinized by John Mwazemba, the Publishing manager of Macmillan Kenya and Stephen Partington; a teacher and poet. There comments were a great boost and are already being put to good use.
The Writing for Children Workshop run by Doreen, Faith, Edwin and Joan was packed with practical advice on how to go about writing for children. We learned about plot, character development, and setting. Each section was accompanied by an exercise which we, the participants, shared among ourselves. We all agreed that it is a niche that badly needed to be tackled but I imagine with more of these workshops, we shall cease to say this.
Listening to Vikram Seth and Hanif Kureishi at the British council Pavillion was pure entertainment. Seth talked about the way his obsession to know how his stories would end have kept him going, claiming that he was ‘lacking in both determination and discipline’. He joked about taking eleven years ‘not to finish his Phd’ and seven years to finish ‘A suitable boy’ which he wrote while sponging of his parents. Being successful as a writer he said, was also a matter of luck. Honest and refreshing. I found Kureishi’s talk very stimulating as his son was there and asked some insightful questions for one so young, which Kureishi answered with the same earnestness that he answered the other questions from the floor. I cannot lie that I appreciated that bond, such a fine example of how the craft can be passed so seamlessly within the family.
I can fault the festival with only one thing. Too many good things packed in at the same time. How were we to choose? I don’t know how many people were like me on the first day, helter-skelter, wanting to be everywhere at once. I can not exaggerate the value this festival has had for all budding writers. The place may not have been packed, but everyone there was just truly crazy about writing and it was so good to be immersed in that rich broth if only for a few days. Well done Storymoja! You have no idea what good you are doing for this nation.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful week!