Wednesday 5 December 2012

Women Writers of Africa

From challenging political injustices to maintaining cultural values to making sense of the continent's great tragedies, storytelling in Africa is an ancient and revered art.

Recently, Cariad Martin, Interviews Editor of For Books Sake, agreed to highlight a series celebrating Women Writers of Africa.  

A webzine based in the United Kingdom and dedicated to promoting and celebrating writing by women, For Books’ Sake provides an intelligent, but irreverent, online community and magazine, featuring books by and for independent women.

Two passionate South Africans, @boomskilpaadjie (a.k.a Nikki Deiner, an ex Saffa now living in Singapore) and myself, set out on an exciting journey to interview ten Women Writers of Africa.

We read terrific stories. We met impressive women. And we realised that the well of writing talent in Africa is deep and rich and powerful … just like Africa herself.

Here are the lovely ladies we met (click on their name to link to their detailed interviews on For Books Sake):

Lauren Beukes (7th September 2012)

Described as Jeff Noon meets Raymond Chandler , the winner of the 2010 Arthur C Clarke award tells us what inspires and influences her writing.

Colleen Higgs (20th September 2012)

Poet and publisher/owner of the vibrant Modjaji Books (an independent South African publisher of numerous award-winning novels), Colleen continues the tradition of Modjaji, the Rain Queen, by making rain for African women. She tells us what the challenges of publishing women’s fiction are.

Yewande Omotoso (1st October 2012)

Is blood what bonds a family? Nigerian author Yewande talks of her award-winning debut novel Bom Boy (published by Modjaji).

Joan de le Haye (16th October 2012)

Thrills and chills from this multi-lingual author based in Pretoria. Joan tells us why she writes some seriously scary stories.

Henrietta Rose-Innes (1st November 2012)

Protégé of the great South African author JM Coetzee, Henrietta finds that “insects are beautiful creatures, but usually not in obvious or sentimental ways … they have an alien sensuality that is fun to write about.” Uh, really? Tell me more ...

Jayne Bauling (8th November 2012)

Multi-published and multi-award winning Jayne tells us why there isn’t much difference between writing romances and young adult novels. And she tells us a secret …

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma (14th November 2012)

Zimbabwean author Novuyo speaks to us (in one of her many languages!) about how short stories, social media and the Secret Service mix ... or not!

Lauri Kubuitsile (22nd November 2012)

Have you ever felt FICTION PRESSURE? Winner of Golden Boabab Prize and shortlisted on the Caine Prize for African Writing, Botswana author Lauri explains exactly what it is.

Dr Sindiwe Magona (29th November 2012)

Are you 23 and feeling like a has-been? You're not alone! Dr Sindiwe Magona shares with us how she went from unemployed domestic worker to a living literary legend who met Former President Nelson Mandela in her job at the United Nations.

Joanne Hichens (5th December 2012) 

Who writes the juicy bits when two authors collaborate? South African author Joanne tells us how two authors can write one book and why she thinks women writers of Africa are like rocks.

These ten powerful authors are the tip of the iceberg ... from South Africa's Nobel Literature Laureate, Nadine Gordimer to Mozambique's Lilia Momple, and Nigeria's Orange Prize winning author Chimamanda Adichie to Egypt's Nawal El Saadawi, the voices of Women Writers of Africa speak to the world with an infinite variety and extraordinary strength.  

Long may their voices be heard.

From left to right
Top Row: Colleen Higgs; Jayne Bauling; Dr Sindiwe Magona
Second Row: Novuyo Rosa Tshuma; Joan de le Haye
Third Row: Joanne Hichens; Lauri Kubuitsile; Henrietta Rose-Innes
Bottom Row: Lauren Beukes; Yewande Omotoso


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy - that's great .. been thinking about you and thought I must make contact - do hope all is well.

I love these and I've subscribed to the feed of ForBooksSake ... they obviously are doing a great job.

Great list here - I'll be back to look through each of the links you've given us .. and I'll be over to buy the anthology, which has your short story in it ..

Cheers and with thoughts Hilary

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

HILARY: For Books Sake is definitely doing a great job and I'm sure you, with your connection to Africa, will enjoy each of the featured authors!

Lauri said...

Thanks again for this, Judy. All of the interviews are fascinating. It's funny all the paths we take.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

LAURI: Thanks to you for your enthusiastic participation! :) And yes, each of the paths are as unique as each of the writers' voices. Viva le difference!

A Cuban In London said...

The range and diversity is breathtaking. Lucky you for having the opportunity to interview these grandes dames of the letters! :-)

Greetings from London.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

CUBAN: They're "grandes dames" indeed! It was an illuminating experience talking to the diverse ladies :)

CA Heaven said...

I need to check out more African writers. I've only read Andre Bring and Doris Lessing, and Karen Blixen of course. Not sure if she's considered African or Danish.

Cold As Heaven

A Cuban In London said...

Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family! :-)

Greetings from London.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

COLD: All of these authors are great writers, but I especially think you'd enjoy Lauren Beukes "ZOO CITY" or Henrietta Rose-Innes "NINEVAH" - if you like crime then Joanne Hichens is a great read too! :)

CUBAN: To you and yours, the happiest of Christmas's and wishing you a 2013 filled with an abundance of all good things xox

A Cuban In London said...

Happy New Year to you and yours! :-)

Greetings from London.