Any aspiring authors who missed the conversations with the author of the month Beverley Nambozo at Femrite are sorely at a loss. Her pedigree needs no recounting and to say that her advice is priceless would be an understatement.
We have come to expect every event to start late and so we, at least I, never bother to set off on time. To my pleasure and disappointment this one started on time. People were already seated and Beverley was going on with the conversations. As a first time visitor I was surprised to see more than one man in the intimate gathering. When I hear Femrite, I immediately think women. It was a pleasure to find that the female author cuts across genders.
It was aptly titled ‘conversations’ because that is what it was. Certainly some of the people present knew each other well, but even us first time members settled in very easily. Beverley shared and the audience asked questions here and there.
Here are a few tips from Beverley for those seeking to follow in her footsteps but sadly missed talking to her.
She stressed the need for research and more research. If you are writing a story about Owino market, go downtown and ‘breathe the life’. However she followed this up by saying respect to the characters and their story should always be upheld.
In response to a question about if writers can be taught, the lady who asked the question mentioned that when asked the same, Chinua Achebe said that it really comes from the gut, Beverly said that ‘teaching’ might be replaced by the word ‘nurture’.’You should indeed nurture your craft’, she said. She confirmed what I have always believed by saying that writing is hard work and that you need to put in the work. You should find a space to nurture your craft. For her it was her Masters’ in Fine Art but it can be a writer’s club or through peer review.
She shared the ups and downs the Beverley Nambozo poetry award has led her on. In its fifth year, it is the only one of its kind in the country. Although there were times she wanted to just give it up, she is proud of the results. Her formula? Determination and a good team. There are other spices that go into the end work but from what I surmised, these were prerequisite. The award is growing to cover East Africa and include men as well.
As is the norm at this event, I was informed, the author of the month reads to the group. Beverly recited a few of her poems my favourite being ‘Kampala’, a one stanza piece that proves that truth can really be said in very few words.
On encouraging writers in Uganda; Beverly believes the University(s) should build more programs that support writing and that writers should be paid-on that I agree. Her books are on sale for 10,000shs at Femrite, the National theatre or in her handbag, her words.
The Beverley Nambozo poetry foundation is accepting entries for this year’s award. The deadline is 5th May.
SUBMIT YOUR POEMS TO THE 5TH AND FINAL BN POETRY AWARD FOR UGANDA
Guidelines for the award:
• The theme is Innovation and you may submit a total of three poems under this theme
• The award is open to Ugandan women above 18 years and who are residents of Uganda
• The poems must be original, written in English and sent as word attachments in Times New Roman Size 12, single-spaced
• Previous first winners are not allowed to participate
• Submit poems by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to P O Box 34942 Kampala, Uganda
• DO NOT add your contact details to the poem, only the title of the poem. Instead, include your name, poems’ titles, email address and phone number in the body of the email
• For more details, follow the facebook page, Beverley Nambozo Poetry Foundation or blog: http://bnpoetryaward.blogsot.com/ or website:www.bnpoetryaward.co.ug
• Submissions will be accepted from 7 January 2013 to 5 May 2013
• Fully sponsored trip to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi alongside cash prizes of 500 US Dollars, 300 US Dollars and 200 US Dollars respectively to use at the festival
• Autographed copies of Home Floats in the Distance/ ZUHAUSE TREIBT IN DER FERNE, Dr. Susan Kiguli’s second poetry collection which is also bi-lingual.
• Autographed copies of Diaries of a Dead African, by Chuma Nwokolo, Jr.