The 2018 Writivism Festival, themed “Legac(y)ies,” will be held from 17-19 August. The event, which is in its sixth year, will take place at The National Theatre and The Square Place, both in Kampala, Uganda’s capital city. It is aimed at celebrating “the different ways history can be used to inspire new narratives.” The highlight will be the announcements of the 2018 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2018 Kofi Addo Nonfiction Prize.
Here is part of the press release.
In the chorus of “Legacy,” Jay Z, raps, “Legacy, Legacy, Legacy, Legacy / Black excellence baby, you gon’ let ’em see.” Before Jay Z’s song, there was Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi’s Kintu (2014), which goes 250 years into history to trace an inter-generational family curse. In 2016, Yaa Gyasi published Homegoing, which also goes back centuries to trace the separation of a family, whose descendants we follow in contemporary times. More African writers are publishing historical fiction, from Peter Kimani’s Dance of the Jacaranda, Irenosen Okojie’s Butterfly Fish, Harruna Ayesha Attah’s The Hundred Wells of Salaga, Leila Aboulela’s The Kindness of Enemies, to Fred Khumalo’s Dancing the Death Drill.
The excavation of history enables us to see the legacies we have inherited, and to consider what legacies we leave for the future. Is it Jay Z’s “Black excellence”? For Fred Khumalo, “what we call ‘history’ is not a thing, an object of study, but a story we choose to tell.” At the 2018 Writivism Festival, we are exploring legacies. We start with the premise that representations of the past within fiction, non-fiction, drama, film, poetry, photography, music, dance, and art are a site of contestation that entails deconstruction and reconstruction of the past.
“This is going to be our shortest festival in some time,” said Roland Byagaba, the Writivism Director and Festival Curator. “To borrow the song title of a currently popular Sauti Sol song, we want to make it ‘short and sweet’. The team, together with our festival partners, have prepared what we believe is the right mix of informative literary sessions and fun times and we look forward to seeing you experience it.”
Key speakers at the festival include Professors Taban Lo Liyong and Goretti Kyomuhendo, and authors Ijangolet Ogwang (An Image in a Mirror), Mugabi Byenkya (Dear Philemona), Dami Ajayi (A Woman’s Body Is a Country), Akwaeke Emezi (Freshwater), and Shadreck Chikoti (Azotus the Kingdom).
The event will further feature book launches, film screenings, panel discussions, poetry and music performances, outreach to hospitals, markets and schools, visual arts and photography exhibitions, all focused on “how the past is remembered, negotiated and adapted to inform the present and future.”