Malawian writers must do more, says Chikoti

Winner of the 2013 Peer Gynt Award and vice president of the Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) Shadreck Chikoti says the writers’ body is not doing enough saying there are more faces needed to change the face of writing.
Chikoti who has authored about nine books said the writing industry in the country has potential but it has several gaps which need to be bridged.
He admitted that Mawu has been there but it is not doing enough to improve writing in the country and that there is need for more players in the industry.
“We need more players in this industry. We need professional editors, we need literary agents, we need more support from the corporate world, from the government. Writers need to be having more get-togethers, so that they share information and talent. We don’t have an environment in Malawi to help the fiction book industry grow,” he observed.
He also said that it is high time that writers started getting serious by reading and writing to perfect their works. Chikoti also said that the world is changing hence writers have to go along with the changes.
“We need to move from the Kalulu the hare tales, to our generations of tablets, cellphone, zombies, vampires, robots, skyscrapers and all that.
“This does not mean we should stop to reflect life in the village or some realities like poverty, wars, domestic violence and the traditional stories of, “from rags to riches,” or “from slave to king,” no, but we need to balance the stories,” he said.
He said Mawu needs to work more on creating an environment that will be conducive for writing.
“We need to create spaces for arts, where writers can mingle and have their work published and publicised. We need to look at other forms of publishing, like using cellphones, the internet, and publishing small books, just like Kwani? Does with little kwaninis,” said Chikoti.
He also said Mawu should help writers do collaborations with friends from across Africa.
“We lag behind because we have not intensified our efforts. We need strong arts bodies that are led by people who really love the arts, and not those who only look forward to receiving an allowance at an arts workshop,” said Chikoti.
The writer however, still looked up with hope that the country can reclaim its position in creative writing.
He cited some writers who have contributed to the industry in Malawi. These include Stanley Kenani, Pius Nyondo, Jack Mapanje and Sambalikagwa Mvona.
--Story by Sam Banda Jnr, BNL TIMES

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