Botswana's well known poet TJ Dema interviewed me on her blog about my recent shortlisting for the Caine Prize, my thoughts on writing in Botswana, and a few other things. You can read the entire interview at her blog, here is a small excerpt:
TJ: The short story that has been shortlisted for the Caine prize was published in South Africa by the independent publisher Modjaji what does that say, if anything, about publishers/publishing in Botswana? In other words why aren't local publishers crawling all over each other to publish a multi-award winning writer such as yourself?
LK: No – no one is crawling anywhere near me. When I was shortlisted I got emails of congratulations from only two of my book publishers (I currently have books published with five publishers, two are in Botswana) both are South African trade publishers. I don’t think publishers here give a hoot about any literary prizes because most of them are not book and writer lovers. It may sound bitter, but that’s how it appears.
TJ: What does it take for a (an African) writer to be noticed by a panel of international judges?
LK: I really don’t know. To be honest contests are subjective. I think you need to get the basics down and then it is really up to what that group of judges likes. I can give a perfect example. My story The Christmas Wedding which won the two prizes in the AngloPlatinum Short Story Contest was recently seriously bashed by a quite prominent South African editor. It’s just the parameters of this game. It’s subjective and you’ll never please everyone.
Thanks again TJ!