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Stitch in time

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When publishers decide to keep authors of non-textbook materials away from the glory of having a book published, the authors either find ways of getting their voices heard or something that has a ‘taste’ of bliss.

For short story-award winner Aubrey Chinguwo, nothing gives an author more satisfaction befitting the publication of a hardcopy book than publishing online.

Chinguwo said in an interview yesterday that he has developed Tiwerenge Malawi website, whose catchphrase is “The home of Malawian Fiction” to offer Malawian authors an opportunity to get published.

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In an environment where, according to Malawi Writers Union president Sambalikagwa Mvona, authors of non-textbook materials are finding it tough to get published, online media could probably be the way out of their predicament.

“The idea to come up with this website came from two perspectives: I am a writer myself, and I have discovered the limited availability of the stories we write so that people can read. It appears we still believe in print. But someone who doesn’t have access to printed publications should at least find the desired content on the web since technology is trending.

“Secondly, there is no official Malawian website one can go to and enjoy fiction. There was one I knew four years ago, but it did not survive. We all depend on the newspapers that publish a story once a week and the fact is that those stories lack proper management to be read continuously and their availability is very limited. On the internet, however, one can search for a story that was published 10 years back and find it,” Chinguwo said.

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Chinguwo, who studied Information Systems, said he has developed several online systems and websites before coding Tiwerenge Malawi.

“To make the site more attractive, I have hired a well-known Malawian editor who will engage all submitted stories into serious editing. We want mature fiction. The target is everyone who is interested in literature, be it writers, readers, and those who can easily be reached online. It is a place to find the best fiction ever produced by Malawians,” Chinguwo said.

He said the website offers the opportunity for peer review.

“We will also do a range of articles about literacy culture and the publishing industry. In motivating writers, I will not be able to pay them for the first time, but I am putting strong measures of getting sponsors so that the issue can be fixed.

“Tiwerenge Malawi isn’t just the website. It is an ongoing project to promote Malawi’s reading culture by ensuring the easy availability of the content needed to be read. And the website is just one of the ways of achieving that,” Chinguwo said.

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