Judges urge writers to dig deeper into various issues


Judges in this year’s Malawi Writers Union (Mawu)/FMB Awards have called on writers in the country to widen their net by writing stories on different issues.

The judges led by Chief Judge Temwani Mgunda observed that this year’s entries focused more on love.

“The entries focused more on the theme of love and almost half of the total number of entries revolved around this theme. What about crime, politics, religion and the many social issues around us?” queried Mgunda.


Mgunda, who scrunised close to 96 entries alongside Maureen Mlenga to come up with the winners said writers need to also consider weaving stories that address other equally pertinent themes, arguing that relevant literary works should broadly mirror what is taking place in society or its aspirations.

“It is as if all that happens in Malawi today is romance, romance and more romance.

“Much as short stories are works of fiction they are, to some extent, an expression of a society’s mind and happenings as such writers must endeavour to capture all aspects of life,” he said.


Mgunda said that much as some contestants attempted to write on the infamous Cashgate, abduction of albinos and homosexuality currently raging across the country, “these were very few out of the 96 entries.”

The judges have since produced a report on this year’s awards highlighting among others poor language usage and reckless violation of rules of grammar as some of the shortfalls that prevailed in the entries.

The judges in the report also noted that writers should not only write when a competition is around the corner but they should write throughout the year by contributing their works to Malawi News, The Sunday Times and Weekend Nation which publish stories and poems on a weekly basis.

However, on a positive note, the judges noted that the competition brought to the fore some unique styles of writing which, in a way, gives hope that the spirit of creative writing still thrives in the country.

The judges have since recommended that Mawu in conjunction with FMB organise a short story writing workshop for the top 15 or 20 writers so that their writing potential be developed to another level.

This year’s contest saw writer Muthi Nhlema emerging the overall winner with his entry titled Free Sitting and he received K200,000.

The judges said that Nhlema’s story stood out among the rest after scoring highly in such areas as plot, style, creativity, imagination and language.

Charles Gallion Phiri’s The Sacrifice – a story that addresses the difficult question of what one should do in the event that they give birth to an albino child – came second.

Steve Kumalonje’s political satire, Footprints, scooped third position.

Phiri and Kumalonje received K100,000 and K70,000 respectively.

FMB has been sponsoring the competition since 2005.

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