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Writer Ekari Mbvundula embarks on creative writing workshops

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Female writer Ekari Mbvundula will be holding creative writing workshops in June.

The Blantyre-based writer, who is a shortlist of the 2017 Nommo Awards in the Novella category said on Wednesday that she would like to help impart skills to beginner writers.

Mbvundula said The Writer 2016 competition was one of her best experiences in her writing career and that it transformed her.

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“Despite many self doubts I did it. I wrote four stories, given only a week to complete each and built up the discipline needed to finish any of my writing projects faster,” she said.

Mbvundula said since the competition she has touch based with other writers, who asked for her help hence coming up with creative writing workshops.

“The interaction with other writers, woke me up to the fact that despite popular belief, many of us are writing fiction right here in the country, but without proper guidance, discipline and publishing opportunities,” said the writer.

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She observed that many of “our stories stay parked on our desktops , or worse, get stuck in our heads.”

Mbvundula said the creative writing workshops have been born from the developments on the ground.

“If you are a struggling writer, I am ready to meet with you to teach what I have learnt about finishing and polishing a short story. We will cover the subject over two days,” she said.

The writer said the platform will provide opportunities to complete a four page short story under mentorship, writing exercises to improve writers’ craft as well as peer to peer feedback on writing.

“ I want to engage aspiring writers and provide space for them to upgrade their skills,” she said.

Mbvundula said that the first five successful applications will get a free copy of the science fiction anthology Imagine Africa 500 which was compiled and published in Malawi under the Story Club Malawi.

She has since requested writers wanting to participate in the creative writing workshops taking place on June 3 and 4 in Blantyre to submit a 300 word sample fiction.

“Anyone who has a dream of writing a story can attend if their writing submission passes the application process,” Mbvundula said.

She said a lot has been said about writing in the country not being that vibrant and that through the workshops she would want to play a part in developing creative writing.

“Writers often hide in plain sight, working in many other careers whilst penning a few things here and there in their private time. Many are never confident enough to finish and publish a story,” she observed.

According to her, the deadline for receiving submissions is May 19.

She said the workshops are for those undiscovered writers who wish to grow and hone their abilities and to take comfort in the community of fellow writers.

“Many of the world’s great writers have sharpened their skills through assessing and getting assessed by other great writers, and I want to begin developing such a community in Malawi,” she said.

Mbvundula has made strides in her creative writing and a few months ago she came out with her first e-book for a short story titled Montague’s Last.

This is a short story about a Chewa slave, who is seeking redemption by completing his final invention.

“It describes what he goes through physically and mentally to complete the task,” she said.

Mbvundula said she decided to produce an e-book to move with technology adding that she wanted it in a format which was easy to add to modern book collections (digital libraries).

“I would also like to gain new readers of Malawian books. By the time my novel comes out, there will be a good fan base,” she said.

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