Writing at a hopeless time

June 24, 2021

PATIENCE MUSA

Ten years ago, Ewan Morrison, a Scottish author and screenwriter, described by many as the ‘most fluent and intelligent writer of his generation’ shared a bleak future for the publishing industry.

Speaking at the world’s largest and best respected literary festival, the Edinburgh International Book Festival, Morrison said within 25 years, the digital revolution would kill physical books and that the e-book would end “writer” as a profession.

Neither was he the first ‘prophet of doom’ nor will he be the last to make bold predictions on the ‘world book publishing industry’. 

Audrey Chirenje

For sure there were probably some nay-sayers who probably looked at the Gutenberg contraction and shouted high and low saying it would amount to nothing.

In fact, books and reading have been under threat for decades for a number of reasons, technology being one of the major ones. It is no secret that most Zimbabweans only read textbooks and very few collect recreational local or international books.

Besides, with money proving to be too tight to mention, very few ever have money left over for the luxury of purchasing a book.

However, one of Zimbabwe’s independent fiction writers to watch is Audrey Chirenje. She has three published books – Life Will Humble You published in December 2019, Chances (October 2020) and Appearances or Not  (May 2021).

Chirenje’s work is inspired by her passion for stories and the hope is that those who read her work are entertained, inspired and motivated.

“My characters are people with issues as I believe most of us have them, but we are trying to live our best lives regardless. I am also trying to change narratives so I might appear to be a tad controversial, but I am only trying to question society dictates so they can factor in new narratives,” Chirenje told Business Times.

Raised on the works of Sue Nyathi, Jackie Collins and Francine Rivers, Chirenje’s dream is to one day leave the indie writers’ pool and get offered a publishing deal as this would teach her a lot about the international writing arena.

Currently she has been receiving a lot of support from other local indie writers whose knowledge of the local nook and crannies has come in handy as she gained experience book after book.

Having just published in May, Chirenje is already working on her next project – a children’s book.

“I plan to make a series of children’s books. So far I’m on chapter 5, it still doesn’t have a name though.  Then at the same time I have another one called ‘Guilt’ which is now on chapter ten,’ Chirenje said.

It looks like she will not be keeping her fans waiting for too long.

With a handful more of such writers that may be all that’s needed to keep the nation’s writing pulse going and the world’s prophets of doom silent.

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