It is a common story that Ugandans don’t read.
And yet, just next month, the country will for the sixth time host the rest of Africa for the annual Writivism Festival.
Celebrated under the theme of ‘Legac(y)ies,’ the edition will invite audiences, authors as well as literature well-wishers to discuss how the past is remembered, negotiated and adapted to inform the present and future.
Key speakers at the festival include Prof. Taban Lo Liyong, Goretti Kyomuhendo, authors Akwaeke Emezi (Freshwater), Ijangolet Ogwang (An Image in a Mirror), Mugabi Byenkya (Dear Philemona), Dami Ajayi (A Woman’s Body is a Country), Shadreck Chikoti (Azotus the Kingdom) among others.However, the festival will also be a celebration of arts and culture that will include other activities like book launches, film screenings, panel discussions, poetry and music performances, outreach to hospitals, markets and schools, visual arts and photography exhibitions and keynote addresses among others.
Africa will come to Uganda to read as the annual prizes given at the festival that include a short story prize and Koffi Addo Prize for creative nonfiction have attracted big numbers from neighboring countries as well as the rest of the continent.
Some of the writers that could eventually win one of these prizes are from Malawi, Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Kenya as well as Uganda among others.
According to the festival website, this year, much as they only presented a long list of only ten stories, the team of three judges chaired by Akwaeke Emezi, Sumayya Lee and Daniel Kalinaki had to deal with a selection of over 150 entries.
The judges for the short story prize even had a bigger number of over 500 entries where ten were selected for the longlist with the help of another set of judges Shadreck Chikoto, Emmanuel Sigauke and Beatrice Lamwaka.