Top author writes to put 'bread on the table'

Although it cannot be said that the Botswana government has done enough to empower the literary arts more and more writers in the country have decided to quit their 'lucrative' jobs to become full-time writers.

One of them is the award-winning Lauri Kubuitsile, who says that being a full-time writer is a demanding job that needs much discipline. Speaking to Showbiz in an interview, the Lecheng-based author said that all is not smooth sailing and to make sure that she succeeds, she works as hard, if not twice as hard as somebody who is employed in an 8am-to-5pm job.

Kubuitsile, who happens to be a Mmegi correspondent, says that as a way of surviving in the dog-eat-dog industry, she is willing to take up anything that can help her put bread on the table.

"I really wish I could write fiction and make a living, but that is almost impossible in this country; so I take up any writing jobs that come along," she says.

For seven years, Kubuitsile worked as a teacher in both junior and primary schools before quitting her job to start the Central Advertiser in 1995.Last year, she sold the business to become a full-time writer and the author says since then her writing career has been blossoming.

Currently she does educational writing, which has proven to be lucrative for a number of local writers. In educational publishing, she has collaborated on a number of projects with other writers such as Wame Molefhe and Bontekanye Botumile who have devoted most of their time to creative writing. Her first children's book Mmele and the Magic Bones, which was short-listed for the 2008 African Writers Prize (UK) has recently been prescribed to be used in Standard Five next year. The book is published by one of the leading local publishing houses, Pentagon Publishing. Apart from educational writing, she writes for both television and radio.

"I have been approached by a number of people who want to become full-time writers and when I ask them to start off as freelancers in newspapers, which are always looking for freelancers, they become reluctant," she adds reluctantly that such choosy people will find it hard to survive as full-time writers.

Kubuitsile has herself contributed to a number a local and international newspapers and magazines.

She says that writing for international publications can be frustrating since when the cheque arrives a large bulk of the money goes towards bank charges.

She, however, adds, "You need to grab any opportunity that comes along and take it up seriously."

According to the author, whenever she and her 'workmates' Molefhe and Botumile agree on a deadline, they make sure that they keep it and this demonstrates how disciplined they are."As an aspiring full-time writer, you need to be practical and you also have to be disciplined otherwise you are not going to make it," the author says.

Kubuitsile asserts that she believes that there are a lot of gifted writers in the country, but the problem is that most fail to establish networks with fellow writers, who can help nurture, their writing careers.

The author says one of the advantages of being full-time is that she is now able to spend quality time with her family. She is married to Shakes Kubuitsile, an Olympic boxer and a long time teacher, and they have two teenaged children.Being full-time also means that she has free time to swim, read and take walks 'in the beautiful Botswana bush'.

Last year, Kubuitsile took first prize in the creative writing category in the 2007 Orange Botswerere Artist of the Year Awards.

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