Writing Still - New stories from Zimbabwe
edited by Irene Staunton
2004 Caine Prize was awarded to the short story Seventh Street Alchemy by Brian Chikawava. The story is in this anthology, Writing Still. The Caine Prize for African creative writing is awarded annually. The prize is named after the late Sir Michael Caine, former Booker Prize chairman.
The history of Zimbabwe has always been reflected in its oral and written literature. Much of the serious fiction written in the 1980s and early 1990s focused on the effects of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation. Little has yet been written about post-independence Zimbabwe and the complex and challenging issues that have arisen in the last twenty years. This anthology of twenty-two short stories provides a representative sample of the range and quality of writing in Zimbabwe at the turn of the century, and an impressionistic reflection of the years since independence in 1980.
Included are stories by established writers Shimmer Chinodya, Charles Mungoshi, Brian Chikwava; and some younger or less established writers, Clement Chihota, Wonder Guchu, Chiedza Musengezi, Mary Ndlovu, Vivienne Ndlovu and Stanley Nyamfukudza. The collection also reflects a slightly broader perspective with stories by Alexandra Fuller, Derek Huggins, Pat Brickhill and Chris Wilson, who engage with historical memory of the conflicts out of which Zimbabwe arose, and the lessons to be drawn from living within a culture other than one’s own. Overall, the anthology reaffirms the persistent value attached to imaginative writing in Zimbabwe, and illustrates that the country’s literary tradition is alive and well, and reshaping itself for new times.
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'This collection can be read for all the right reasons: to understand Zimbabwe, to hear what its people are saying, to see behind the barriers that Mr Mugabe has created, and those he has failed to dismantle, and because these Zimbabweans are Writing Still. But it should be read also because they [the writers] are able to write with beauty, with style that transcends ordinariness, because they weave hope and threads of brilliance and despair and survival into a multitude of narratives that turn Zimbabwe into more, much more, than one man's realm.'
'A brave new collection of short stories squares up to the challenges of Africa's current political climate, particularly Zimbabwe's repressive curtailing of the freedom of speech.'
'Congratulations are due to the editors and Weaver Press...'
About the Editor
Irene Staunton began work in publishing in London in the 1970s. Returning to Zimbabwe after its independence, she became the editor at the government’s new Curriculum Development Unit. In 1987, she co-established Baobab Books, which rapidly acquired a reputation as an exciting literary publisher. In 1999, she left Baobab to co-found Weaver Press. She was also the editor of the Heinemann African Writers Series for several years. Staunton has also researched and compiled a number of oral histories including Mothers of the Revolution.