Artist cum farmer wins Baobab Prize

ivor_profile_photo.jpgIvor W. Hartmann, winner of 2008 Baobab prize
Like many other Zimbabwean writers living abroad, economically exiled despite the love of their home country, Ivor W. Hartmann made Zimbabwe proud when he won the prestigious, inaugural 200

In his acceptance letter, writer Hartmann said, It is with profound
sense of great honour that I accept The Baobab Prize and my proud
privilege as a Zimbabwean writer to have entered and participated in
this much needed stimulus to African writing.

According to its founders, the main objective of the Baobab Prize is
to encourage the writing of African literature for young readers as
well as to shake up literature in Africa, identify the literary giants
of the next generation and produce classic stories that will be
appreciated for years to come.

Deborah Ahenkorah, one of the collaborators of this coveted prize,
says, Without access to books by and about Africans, young people grow
up not knowing much about the diverse cultures of their vast continent.
And especially when all they read is Western literature, they have very
little reason to feel proud of their national identities and
continental heritage.

The Baobab Prize was adjudicated by a highly esteemed panel: Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Kathy Knowles and Professor Osayimwense Osa.

Hartmann's winning story titled Mr. Goop tells the story of a young
boy called Tamuka Zimudzi living in a future post-climate-change
apocalyptic world where amongst other horrors, laboratory created
humanoid life-forms are now slaves to humans. Set in Mbare, Harare, the
story is a speculative science-fiction teenage tale happening in the
future'. Yet in this hard new world Tamuka lives with the same diverse
hopes, fears and dreams of any twelve year-old boy, and takes his first
steps towards becoming an adult.

Hartmann's history

Hartmann was born in Harare in 1972 where he penned his first fiction
short story at the age of fourteen. Upon leaving Vainona High school in
Harare he was faced with a choice of whether to become a fine artist or
a writer. Though he showed promise in both fields (as a finalist in
some national school competitions), ultimately financial restraints,
youthful impetuousness, and the idea that one needed to live life
before writing about it led him to fine art.

He doggedly followed this path for seven years but was met with minimal
personal artwork success. In 1998, he finally chucked in the brush and
changed artistic mediums from oils on canvas to shovel in earth.

He leapt into Permaculture/Organic Farming with the same gusto he had
reserved for fine art. With long-term plans to start up a medicinal
herbal farm in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands, he studied and worked in
organic farming for five years. This plan however, was shattered by the
final descent of Zimbabwe into full-blown chaos in 2000.

Hartmann quickly immersed himself in the world of postproduction
studios, computer animation and special effects. One year later he
formed Damn Fine Production in response to landing the special effects
for a six part sci-fi mini-series.

Armed with a broad range of life experience from Literature and Fine
Arts, Organic Farming, Computer Animation, Special Effects and Music
Videos, he finally felt ready to follow what had always been his first
love, writing. In the process he formed, and is Editor-in Chief of,
StoryTime, a new African fiction e-zine which every week showcases the
works of some of the hottest new African fiction writers, and he has in
the last three years published numerous works of short fiction and
non-fiction articles and essays.


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