2017 has been that year for us.
Terrifying. Exciting. Frustrating. Challenging. Exhilarating. And everything in between. It has been the year we realised and lost dreams and dreamt new ones. That we are here at the end of it, with renewed energy and more innovative ways to promote emerging African writers is what brought tears to Bwesigye’s eyes while we closed the #Writivism2017 festival, what made the workshops in Kampala and Gulu by Nick Makoha and Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi worth it, what made the two mentoring programs unregrettable, what made us plunge into an uncharted territory of film production (about writers) and made the premiere at Storymoja festival a learning experience, what made your reception of Daughters who Become Lovers humbling, what made us clebrate the brave new writing of the 35 stories on our long lists and oh god, we are here. Five years later.
I did not expect all of this when I took on the role of editor a year and two months ago. In fact, I did not expect much if anything at all. But I have learned and grown so much with the community that is Writivism. Working with Efemia Chela and Beatrice Lamwaka (on different projects) really raised the bar for me and it made me value the work that every single person -publishers, writers, social media managers, editors, et al- that makes a story, a book, an artistic production what it is. Why Writivism is important and necessary.
We have, therefore, curated a list of our favourite stories published online in 2017 by some of our favorite writers. Most are 5-minute reads.
- Musezi by Acan Innocent Immaculate
I always expect to laugh or be scared out of my wits when I read anything by Acan, but she rolls both effortlessly into one.
- Night Wind by Eloghosa Osunde
This story is so simple and yet so otherworldly. Eloghosa does that. Brilliantly.
- I Live With the Devil by Maureen Wakarindi
What does choosing life mean? Spoiler: probably not what you expect.
- Running by Ama Udofa
You will be left in suspense but it will be worth it. Bless your soul.
- You Should Be a Gift by Ife Olujuyigbe
“Can I have just a little piece of yourself, since you’re so full of it?”
- Historical Echoes: The Literature of Hausa Women by Sada Malumfashi
Sada ushers us through the history of literature by Hausa women from 950 through to 2010. This piece is a gem because well, history.
- This Is Not A Safe Place by Keletso Mopai
This Igby Prize for Nonfiction winning essay is stripped of all guard and lays bare the in working of living with social anxiety.
- Time Passes by Munachim Amah
In his surreal anecdotal style, Munachim reflects on the passing of time on an Easter holiday in Uke.
- The Police Robbed Us by Beaton Galafa
When we write our silences…
- The Photographer as an Osprey by John “Lighthouse” Oyewale
“It is not enough to see things: one must see into the meaning of things. One must make meaning of the things that they see…”
- Mapping a Country by Akpa Arinzechukwu
Nigeria and mental health. Or maybe a conversation with God, I’m not sure but it makes sense.
- Interview with Gaamangwe Joy Mogami
The interviewer is interviewed. It’s inspiring to see ideas that have come to life.
- Backyard, Morning by Okwudili Nebeolisa (Beloit Poetry Journal Summer 2017)
Okwudili is one of those writers that write (literally) all genres and well. He has been longlisted and shortlisted for both nonfiction and poetry prizes. This poem is just as worthy. (And so is the whole issue).
- I Want To Meet You Again by Kearoma Mido Mosata(Kalahari Review)
Is there poetry that makes you wish you were in love?
- Pumpkin Soup: And Other Poems by Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa
That Joel has a whole book published and out there is one of the most exciting notes to end 2017 on. He has reviewed more books by African authors than we care to count and this makes us so proud. The poems, sometimes one-liners, sometimes sonnets.