A series of literary events is set to run in Harare at the end of this November as a fore-taste of an annual International Literature Festival that will kick off in 2015. The events are coordinated by the steering committee of LitFest Harare, the International Literature Festival, in conjunction with a number of institutions.
Dubbed “Live Literature Days”, the activities will feature writers, critics and readers drawn from around Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Germany and the United Kingdom. The activities will culminate in the official handover of a collection of more than three thousand books of the late writer, Doris Lessing, to the Harare City Library.
The first event will feature a dialogue and poetry performances at the Book Café on Thursday 27 November. That evening event will feature a dialogue between the UK based Zimbabwean writer, Stanley Nyamfukudza and the Kenyan writer, academic and publisher, Tom Odhiambo. Also on the line up for that evening will be the Bulawayo based performance poet Sithandazile Dube.
On Friday 28 November, the activities will move to the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Arts. Writers Sekai Nzenza, Nozipo Maraire, Ignatius Mabasa, Tom Odhiambo, Robert Muponde, Zukiswa Wanner and Stanley Nyamfukudza will engage in a discussion which will be moderated by David Mungoshi and attended by students, academics and other interested parties. That session will close with a solo performance by poet Chirikure Chirikure.
In the evening of that Friday, there will be a screening of a German literary film at the Book Café. The film screening will end with a discussion and reflections centred around the film. The discussion will be led by Theresa Muchemwa, and will feature Katja Kellerer and Sekai Nzenza. The event was put together in collaboration with the Zimbabwe–Germany Society/Goethe Institute.
On Saturday 29 November, the Harare City Library will host the final leg of the activities. Running from morning to early evening, the day’s programme will include discussions, dialogues, readings, performances and recitations. The above mentioned writers will be joined by other artists, among them being Taurai Chinyanganya, Isabella Matambanadzo, Elizabeth Muchemwa, Michael Mabwe, Valerie Tagwira, Michael Banda and the group Almasi Collaborative Arts.
The day will end with a function at which Doris Lessing’s collection of books will be officially handed over to the Harare City Library. Lessing, the Nobel laureate (2007), was born of British parents in Persia (now Iran) in 1919, and moved to Zimbabwe in 1925. She then moved to the United Kingdom in 1949. She passed away in the UK on 17 November 2013. This event will be a celebration of her legacy and commemoration of the first anniversary since her passing on.
LitFest Harare, the International Literature Festival, is headed by poet/writer Chirikure Chirikure, who is the director. The LitFest Steering Committee is chaired by Dr Edgar Mberi, a writer, critic and lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe.
The festival has been in the making for more than a year, and will run with effect from November 2015, with participants drawn from all over the world.
LitFest has been fortunate enough to get into partnership with the Culture Fund of Zimbabwe, Trust Africa, Meikles Foundation, Harare City Library, Book Café, the Zimbabwe-Germany Society and the Berlin Literature Festival. That partnership has enabled the running of this year’s literary events and is set to grow in the coming years. More partnerships are expected to come through in the next months, which will facilitate the running of the full festival with effect from next year.
As Chirikure Chirikure says, “We realised the need for a platform to celebrate literature and to engage minds in a stimulating environment. Zimbabwe has produced a lot of high class literary materials that are recognised the world over. We need to applaud this and we need to help cultivate more works. As such, LitFest Harare will bring together local and international players annually, to honour our local achievements as well as to open windows for the growth of our arts.”
The LitFest Harare Steering Committee chairman, Dr Edgar Mberi also says, “Writing is the bedrock of all art forms. As such, it is essential that we create opportunities for writers, publishers, critics, readers and the public to interact. The more we share ideas, the broader our creativity grows.”
Note: Enquiries about the Doris Lessing books should be addressed to:
Roger Stringer. E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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