2017 writers' workshop - TANZANIA
Eleven writers representing ten African countries convened at the Travellers Lodge in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, for thirteen days (21 March – 2 April). At the workshop the writers wrote, read and discussed work in progress and learned from Elise Dillsworth, literary agent and co-founder of the Diversity in Publishing Network, and Mohammed Naseehu Ali, Ghanaian author of short stories and Professor of Creative Writing at New York University.
This year's participants included the 2016 Caine Prize winner, Lidudumalingani (South Africa), as well as previously shortlisted writers Abdul Adan (Somalia/Kenya), Lesley Nneka Arimah (Nigeria) and Tendai Huchu (Zimbabwe). They will be joined by Cheryl Ntumy (Botswana/Ghana), Daniel Rafiki (Rwanda), Darla Rudakubana (Rwanda), Agazit Abate (Ethiopia), Esther Karin Mngodo (Tanzania), Lydia Kasese (Tanzania), and Zaka Riwa (Tanzania).
Short story author Mohammed Naseehu Ali, who, along with Elise Dillsworth, facilitated the workshop this year, said: “As someone who benefited from the mentorship of established writers at the beginning of my career, I am always eager to give back when the opportunity arises. A writing workshop, be it in a school setting or informal environment such as the one held by the Caine Prize, does not only help participants with their writing but also gives them a peak into their lives as successful writers.”
During the workshop the writers wrote a short story for the 2017 Caine Prize anthology, which will be published by New Internationalist in the UK and Interlink in the US. The anthology will be co-published with partners in sixteen African countries; ‘amaBooks (Zimbabwe), FEMRITE (Uganda), Gadsden Publishers (Zambia), Huza Press (Rwanda), Jacana Media (South Africa), Kwani? (Kenya), Mkuki na Nyota (Tanzania), Lantern Books (Nigeria), Redsea Cultural Foundation (Somaliland, Somalia, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, South Sudan and UAE) and Sub-Saharan Publishers (Ghana).
The workshop also incorporated visits to local schools, including Nianjema High School, on Monday 27 March in the Bagamoyo area.
A public event, 'Caine Prize for African Writing Public Reading and Conversation', featured readings in English and Kiswahili translations held on Saturday 1 April at CDEA (Culture for Development East Africa). This event was generously supported by Zansec, CDEA and the SOMA Book Cafe.
The 2017 workshop coincided with the Jalada Mobile Literary and Arts Festival’s journey through Tanzania. Donated copies of the 2016 Caine Prize anthologies were also included on the Jalada bus, which visited twelve towns in five countries.