The Sunday News
AFTER a four-year hiatus Intwasa Short Story Competition is back and calling for entries. The competition is an annual literary event seeking to promote original creative writing talent in English. The competition also seeks to promote Zimbabwean narratives from Zimbabwean writers be they in Zimbabwe or living in the diaspora. This year’s first prize is US$200. There are also two US$50 runner-up prizes for grabs.
Entry stories must be about the Zimbabwean girl child, her struggles and victories. Preferred themes are sexual harassment (offences) against the girl child, child marriages and positive models for the girl child.
Competition rules are that: Entries must be written in English. Entries should be previously unpublished. Only one entry per person. All work must be original. Entries must be typed. Judges’ decision is final. Maximum words are 3 000 words.
The Intwasa Short Story Competition is one of the very few literary writing competitions in Zimbabwe and continues to encourage and promote original Zimbabwean narratives. Young women writers are encouraged to submit their stories.
Since inception the competition has unearthed super writing talent, some of which has gone to grab international awards and headlines.
Here are some of the past winners: Thabisani Ndlovu was the first winner of the competition. At the time Thabs was a teacher of Literature in English at Falcon College. He describes the effect of his story Cold Careless Hands winning the competition as “reviving my interest in creative writing and being a challenge to produce even better work.”
In terms of creative writing, Thabs has contributed short stories to Short Writings from Bulawayo III, Long Time Coming: Short Writings from Zimbabwe and Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe. He has also had short stories appear in other anthologies, including the Caine Prize for African Writing. Thabs is an accomplished short story writer and is presently working on an anthology of his own stories.
Thabs also has a piece in Writers, Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa, edited by Okey Ndibe and the late Chenjerai Hove, and he has translated Where to Now? Short Stories from Zimbabwe into isiNdebele.
Since winning the competition, Dr Ndlovu has been awarded a PhD in African Literature in English from Witwatersrand University and is now Deputy Director of the International Human Rights Exchange there.
Bryony Rheam won the competition in 2006 with her story The Reunion, which concerns a woman who is consumed with jealousy at a party where she thinks she sees someone she went to school with who appears beautiful and successful. Winning Intwasa, “gave me the confidence to carry on writing. I enjoy writing short stories and it’s great to know that others might also enjoy them.”
Bryony has had short stories in many Zimbabwe anthologies and her first novel, This September Sun, published by ’amaBooks in Zimbabwe and Parthian Books in the United Kingdom, won Best First Book at the 2010 Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association Awards and the e-book topped the “Best Sellers” list for books sold in the United Kingdom on Amazon.
Bryony has a BA and MA in English, and presently teaches at Girls College in Bulawayo.
Novuyo Rosa Tshuma won the competition in 2009, with “You in Paradise”, about the peculiarities of being an immigrant in Johannesburg.
The tale is weaved around a scene on a street corner in central Johannesburg, where mayhem erupts at the sight of a police truck — one famed for rounding up illegal immigrants. The story is also featured in her novella and story collection with Kwela in South Africa, Shadows.
She comments: “Winning the short competition was a major boost to my writing confidence. I was young — 21 — and still in the process of formulating my writing voice. It motivated me to keep writing, keep experimenting, and to see where the story goes.”
Novuyo, currently based in the USA, is riding on the success of her novel House of Stone.
Other winners are Violette Kee-Tui with her story Tattered Cloth. A story that explored interracial relationship and had the judges singing a lot of praises, especially about its use of language and imagery. Violette Kee-Tui is a former editor of the Edgars Stores Club Magazine.
Mbonisi Pilani Ncube also won with Chanting Shadows. Mbonisi Pilani Ncube lives and writes from South Africa. Sipho Ndlovu also won with A balance of power.
Resource permitting this year’s short list will be published into an anthology.