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Writers, mark your calendars!

LAURI KUBUITSILE
I know getting writers to come together is often like herding cats - wild cats - but I am begging you to think about attending these two writerly events, for your own benefit. The two important dates you must mark on your calendar and clear space for in your life are: September 18 (this Sunday!) and Saturday October 8.

If you are serious about Botswana literature, reading, writing and getting published you need to pay close attention.

This Sunday, the Bessie Head Heritage Trust (BHHT) is celebrating the wonderful little bite-sized fiction format— the short story! The event, dubbed Celebrating The Short Story, will begin at 2pm at the News Café in Gaborone. The programme will include the awarding of the prize to this year’s winner of the BHHT Short Story Contest. This year’s winner is Caiphus Mangenela for his story, ‘A Mother Amongst the Stars’. He wins P2,000. An excerpt from the winning story will be read and the story discussed. The theme this year, coinciding with our country’s auspicious birthday was ‘independence’. The judges were international writers Fiona Snyckers, Zukiswa Wanner and Karen Jennings.

There will also be readings on the day from some of our own published short story writers who will be reading excerpts from their work. The writers include: Wame Molefhe, Donald Molosi, Cheryl Ntumy, Sharon Tshipa, and myself (as well as others who I could not confirm when writing this). A Trust member will be reading some of Bessie Head’s work as well. Finally there will be an open mic for any up-and-coming writers and poets to perform some of their work. Refreshments will be served after the event. So come and let us celebrate the short story together, everyone is welcome! The prize this year was sponsored by Diamond Educational Publishers.

The other important event that should not be missed is a seminar on publishing, again being organised by the BHHT. This will take place on October 8. The venue and time is not yet decided, but will be posted on the Bessie Head website (http://thuto.org/bhead/html/ ) and I will try to remind you here, on my blog (Thoughts from Botswana)  and on the It’s All Write Facebook page.

I get nearly daily messages and emails from people enquiring how to get their work published. This seminar will let you know how. It will

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teach you how the process works.  You will learn what publishers expect, how to approach publishers, types of markets available for your work, how work is edited professionally and what different types of publishing opportunities are out there.

This is invaluable knowledge that can take a few years to acquire on your own, but BHHT is offering it to you in one afternoon—free! Do not miss this opportunity. I’m not sure you will find it again.

Violet N’gon’gola from Diamond Educational Publishers will be speaking on the topic: Publishers Rights and Responsibilities. Learn what publishers are looking for, what to expect when you finally find a publisher, and how to up your odds of getting an acceptance.

Bessie Head Trust member, Mary Lederer, will be covering the topic: Editing and Preparation of a Manuscript. I will also be one of the resource people and will be talking about Writers’ Rights and Responsibilities and Different Types of Publishing and Publishing Opportunities.

For anyone wanting to learn the ins and outs of the publishing business and how to go about submitting their work and learning how to convert a hobby into a professional career, this is a seminar they should not miss. It is free to the public. See you there!

Commonwealth 2017 Short Story Prize Wants Your Short Story!

The Commonwealth Short Story prize is now open for submissions, with the deadline being November 1, 2016. It is open to anyone from a Commonwealth country writing their stories in English. Stories should be between 2,000-5,000 words.

There are regional winners who win 2,500 British pounds (the regions being: Africa, Asia, Canada and Europe, Caribbean, and the Pacific.  The overall winner takes home 5,000 British pounds.

There is no theme and stories are submitted online at www.commonwealthwriters.org.  Stories should be unpublished and writers can only submit one entry. The entry should be in a PDF format with no identifying information on the document. Complete guidelines can be found on the website after clicking ‘submit an entry’.



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