Malawi Pen toys with ‘Death of An Idea’


By Richard Chirombo:

The arts industry has, sometimes, stagnated because it suffers from verbal diarrhoea— “especially”, in the words of veteran musician Synoden Ibu, “when there is too much talk with little, or no, action to show for it”.

At other times, according to book editor Kizito Filipi, “the problem comes in the form of too much paperwork but with little progress to show for it”.


Well, it seems Malawi Pen prefers the latter; it is better to work on something than not work at all.

That, probably, is why Malawi Pen has decided to give Malawi a new gift, a book that was supposed to be released on World Book and Copyright Day but missed the train due to circumstances beyond the control of those who are working on it.

The title of the book is The Death of an Idea – Malawi Writing Today II, in the words of Malawi Pen President Alfred Msadala.


“The […] publication is currently in print at Montfort Media, [in] Balaka [District]. It is a Pen Malawi publication.

“We should have issued the book during the last week of April 2019 as part of the World Book and Copyright Day commemorations but, due to technical reasons, we may not achieve it,” Msadala said.

He said there is hope that it would be released early May.

Msadala said, among other objectives, the book seeks to bridge the generation gap.

Its editor is Egidio Mpanga while the cover testifies of the ingenuity of Theo Nammelo’s brush. The latter is a Chancellor College, University of Malawi, graduate.

Malawi Pen uses the Pen Charter, which is based on resolutions passed at its international congresses. Among other things, it affirms that literature knows no frontiers and must remain the common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals; in all circumstances, and particularly in time of war, works of art, the patrimony of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion.

It further affirms that Pen supports free press and opposes arbitrary censorship in time of peace.

Maybe the book, which comes at a time Malawi is at peace and book publishing seems to be in full flower, will not be another case of “too much paperwork but with little progress to show for it”, which is better than “too much talk with little, or no, action to show for it”, anyway.

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