At one of the literary events last year, celebrated poet Susan Kiguli said the recent surge in literary activity in the country stands to be judged on how much it helps aspiring writers to realise their literary ambitions. And it would appear that some people heard the poet loud and clear.
For the purpose of enhancing their positioning as regards producing quality work, six upcoming Ugandan and German writers from the two cities of Kampala and Bremen are this month co-operating on a programme that seeks to open up dialogue among them as writers from different geographical and cultural settings.
Titled Bremen & Kampala – Spaces of Transcultural Writing, the already underway project has the six upcoming writers discussing via Internet a wide array of issues regarding their writing experiences and the writing world in general.
On the side of their own writing experiences, the writers are exploring issues such as the differences and similarities in their approaches on storytelling, what it means to be living as writers in urban societies, how much their writing is influenced by place and society, where they write, the routines they follow, what inspires them.
While on the side of the wider literary world, the writers are exploring issues such as what concerns young writers today, what differences exist today in individual, social, and political attitudes towards writing.
The writers are Deborah Asiimwe, Ronald Ssegujja and Nyana Kakoma from Kampala; and Nikolas Hoppe, Nora Bossong and Jens Laloire from Bremen.
Nyana, the leader of the Ugandan contingent on the project, reveals that according to the programme, each week one of the authors will open up a discussion on a topic that is of concern to them.
Deborah Asiimwe opened the discussions this week, exploring the question of ‘How Changing Places is Reflected in the Process of Writing,’ and next week Jens Laloire will be discussing ‘Getting out there! How to find an Audience/publisher.’ Then the week after (19 to 25) Nora Bossong will discuss ‘The role of the Writer in Society,’ and Nyana will close in the last week of the month (26 to 31) with the theme Being a Writerpreneur: How to Write and Make a Living.
Besides discussing the themes, Nyana adds, the writers will also get to know each other, share their writing processes and at the end of January get together online to summarise the outcome of the project. Nyana says for the general public, they aren’t expected to be spectators either.
That rather, members of the public are expected to join in and be part of the discussions via Google Hangouts and on the website kampalawritesbremen.com
“A reader only has to find a topic that interests him/her, then she or he joins the discussion,” Kakoma says. Among other things, those who join in are also expected to give feedback at the end of the project.
Those interested in interacting with the writers more closely, apparently there is a chance to follow them in their daily routines throughout the month of January –meeting them at public readings, poetry slams and festivals (Jens in Bremen and Nyana in Kampala).
Apparently writers will also document their everyday lives in photographs, videos, and blog entries and exchange experiences and thoughts in an open dialogue on Google hangouts and on the website kampalawritesbremen.com.