African Women Writers Symposium 2011

The second African Women Writers Symposium will meet under the motto of “Dream, Speak, Read, Reclaim”: African women writers and women of African descent walk the talk, in order to take the next step of ‘walking the talk’ to women’s emancipation and social, cultural and economic freedom. The Symposium will take place in several venues (mainly at Wits University) between the 18 and 20 November 2011.

Watch this space for more information!

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What’s on now

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Africa Women Writers agree to network

Members of the committee

Participants at the symposium Women’s words: African worlds: “Renewing a dialogue between African women writers and women of African descent” – convened by DAC for women writers, scholars and performers held on 25 and 26 August 2010 – resolved to form a network of african writers, to represent their needs and that of their sisters on the continent. “We will build up a network, of all the sisters that are writing and want to see Africa play a progressive role at home and to the outside world”, said Jayne Cortez, one of the five elected committee members said today. Cortez is a seasoned writer and performer, poet and activist, based in New York.

Conference report will follow.

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Download the Symposium Brochure

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Welcome to the blog Women’s Words: African Worlds, which is dedicated to promotion of women’s writings and is part of the South African Women’s Month celebrations. The 2010 Women Month’s celebrations theme, “working together for Equal Opportunities and Progress for all Women” will be greatly advanced by the hosting of national, continental and international guests.

The writers and thinkers conference has wide ranging objectives and programme and takes place in Johannesburg, on 25 and 26 August 2010.

All the events are free, and open to the public but it is important to RSVP.

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Miriam Tlali

Miriam Tlali was born in Doornfontein, Johannesburg in 1933 and grew up in Sophiatown. Tlali enrolled at the University of Witwatersrand, but was not admitted due to the reservation of positions for white students. She later went to University of Lesotho (then called Pius the XII University ), at Roma, but could not complete her studies due to financial difficulties. It was her employment as a bookkeeper at a Johannesburg furniture store that prompted her to write her first novel, Muriel at Metropolitan. Completed in 1969, the book was only published in 1975, and subsequently banned in 1979. Tlali was co-founder and a contributor of Staffrider magazine, which aimed at providing an outlet for anti-apartheid creative writing by blacks and penned a regular column, “Soweto Speaking”. Amandla, a novel based on the 1976 Soweto riots, was published in 1980. It was well-received and sold a remarkable successful 5 000 copies in a few weeks, but was banned immediately thereafter. Both novels were translated into several other languages, including Dutch, Japanese, Polish and German. They were unbanned in 1986. Tlali wrote a play, Crimen Injuria, whilst on scholarship in the Netherlands, and it was presented both in Holland and the USA. Mihloti is a collection of short stories, interviews and non-fiction and was published in 1984 by Skotaville Press, a black publishing house of which she was the founding member. Footprints in the Quag was published initially as Soweto Stories by Pandora Press in 1989.

Tlali was a visiting scholar at the Southern African Research Program at Yale University between 1989 and 1990. In 2001, she was honoured as the first African woman to publish a novel in South Africa by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology. In 2005, she was again honoured by the Department as a recipient of their Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. As a member of the Women’s National Coalition, she assisted in drafting the Preamble to the South African Women’s Charter.

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Fiona Lloyd

Fiona is a South African journalist who is the co-founder of Reporting for Peace, an organization that teaches journalists how to report effectively on conflicts. She is also one of the cofounders of WICSA: Southern African Women in Contemporary Culture.

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