31 writers contributed stories to the project and they include a wide range of Zimbabweans: those enduring in the country, those making it in the Diaspora (New Zealand, UK, South Africa, Holland and Japan), men and women from different racial backgrounds. Jane Morris, the editor, was very up beat about the quality of the project, “We had a huge response in terms of writers submitting their work for consideration – a very high standard and it was difficult to choose,” she said.
Notable contributors include Brian Chikwava; John Eppel, Albert Nyathi, Raisedon Baya, Ignatius Mabasa and Pathisa Nyathi. Though the proportion of women is always smaller compared to men in any literary project, it is significant that a fifth of the stories in the book belong to women. The six women writers are Cathy Buckle, Judy Maphosa, Byrony Rheamy, Diana Charsley, Mary Ndlovu and Wendy Blakely. The youngest contributor in the book is 23-year-old Tinashe Mushakavanhu. The talented young writer has had stories appearing in Short Writings From Bulawayo II (2005) and Writing Now (2005).
The launch of the book is running simultaneously with an art exhibition of paintings inspired by the writings in the book. This is a unique celebration of art, where writers and painters not only compliment but also inspire each other. Morris enthusiastically explained the idea for this unique exhibition, “amaBooks, Alliance Francaise of Bulawayo and the Visual Artists Association of Bulawayo thought a closer working relationship between the two art disciplines (visual and written) should be fostered. We are all excited at the prospect of cross fertilisation and we all work well together and inspire each other. It is a vibrant artistic community.”
Tomorrow, June 2, also at the National Gallery in Bulawayo, at 5pm,there will be readings from all writers who are able to attend. Audience participation will choose the “winners’ – both writers and painters. A number of organisations have donated prizes for the event. On this “readings night” 6th form students of art and literature, as well as the general public, will attend. It will be good for budding writers and artists to meet those who have had works published or exhibited.
This literary project was supported by the Alliance Francaise, the National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, Visual Artists Association of Bulawayo and HIVOS. The Short Writings From Bulawayo fiction series has become so popular with readers in Zimbabwe and elsewhere.
Later in the year, ‘amaBooks will be re-publishing John Eppel’s novel Hatchings. The Carrefour Press, Cape Town previously published the novel in 1993.
With the Zimbabwean publishing industry on the wane due to economic challenges facing the country, it is laudable when a publisher churns out a new book in these difficult times. 'amaBooks this week launch their third short story anthology, Short Writings From Bulawayo III at the National Gallery