Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Successful National Read-a-Thon!!

Unfortunately I was away so could not attend the award ceremony on the 11 July for the National Read-a-Thon but the task was dutifully executed by the general secretary of WABO, Wame Molefhe. Despite the national strike that included teachers, we received lots of entries. What was wonderful too was that the winners came from all around the country not just Gaborone.

I was especially pleased to see primary school winners from Malaka, a village I came to love when we stayed in Lecheng. It's also the home village of my fictional character, Detective Kate Gomolemo.

The other wonderful thing was that all three of the students who won for secondary school (tied for first place) came from Diratsame CJSS in Moshupa, the same school that was represented at last year's Bessie Head Awards when three of their students attended with the school head and read their poetry during the open mike session. I think it is fantastic how the school is promoting the literary arts. Just goes to show how powerful an inspired teacher can be. Ten points for the administration and staff at Diratsame Junior Secondary School!

The winners were:

The secondary school winners were all from Diratsame Community Junior Secondary School and there was a three-way tie for first place, all having read 32 books.
Bone Ngope
Itseng Montle
Ontiretse Mosweu

For primary school, the winners were:
Kitso Okuketseng from Malaka Primary School-80 books
Ame Seitshiro from Malaka Primary School-71 books
Kgosi Monametsi from Raserura Primary School- 70 books

WABO has decided to make the Read-a-Thon an annual event and is in the process of writing a proposal for funding. We were really excited about the response and believe that getting our kids reading is an important endeavour.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

NoVoilet Bulawayo Wins this year's Caine Prize!!

I know this news is late and I have been a terrible blogger but I am home and will try to make amends.

Yes, for those not in the loop, Zimbabwean writer, NoVoilet Bulawayo, was the winner this year. Of the people on the shortlist, she was the only one I knew before getting to London. We met through blogging and Facebook and were internet friends. I am very happy for her and I think of all of us on the shortlist she will be able to get the most from this prize. She currently teaches at Cornell and is just starting out on her writing journey. She has a unique, fresh voice, a brilliant mind and I'm very excited to see how she grows in her writing. I have a feeling she is destined for great things. Watch out world!

Where do I start in writing about my last few weeks. I'm still in pieces really, not quite myself. It will be weeks, likely months before I see what my time in Lagos and then London has done to me. But there a few facts that I can state for sure and certain.

1. Mr K and I had a fabulous, never-to-be-forgotten, 20th wedding anniversary, ending with a lovely dinner at Bodleian Library in Oxford. Who on this planet can say they celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary on top of (to the side of, next to, in the vicinity of) every book ever written in the English language? We can!!

2. I met so many wonderful people. Some will definitely be pivotal in my writing career. Some will inspire me to be a better writer, and others I know for sure will become life-long friends. Where everyone will fall is yet to be realised.

3. The Lauri Kubuitsile who left Botswana about a month ago is not the one who returned two days ago. Molecules have shifted. Thoughts have changed course. Eyes have been re-focused. I'm looking forward to what this new person will get up to. I feel a bit like I don't have enough of my life left to do all the new things I want to. I hope this is not the case.

For now, that's all I've got. I'll try my best to get my thoughts sorted and more specific during the next few days.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lagos to London

I must apologise to my blog readers for not keeping you posted about all of the wonderful things going on. The problem is I'm busy being part of the wonderful things so have found if difficult to post.

Leaving Lagos and all of my new friends there was difficult. The Farafina event on Saturday night was amazing. I think I've never before met such a person as Chimamanda Adichie. She is brilliant and talented, this I think we all know, but much more than that she really cares that others follow her on the path she has laid. She said such wonderful things about all of us in the group that night when we came up for our awards. I was so touched by what she said about me. I know, even at this short distance, that the Farafina Trust Workshop will end up being one of the most important things to happen to me and my writing.

At the event I met another one of the One Worlders (the group of international writers who put together the short story collection One World) , Jude Dibia. He's lovely. Beautiful and calm and humble. I'd already had two incredible evenings with Molara Wood who came to our hotel in Lekki. Extra gifts to add to the bounty I've been receiving.

And now I write this in London, the second leg of this incredible trip. It was a stunning day weatherwise yesterday even through my overnight flight dead tired eyes. Today I will hopefully meet NoVoilet, an internet friend who is also on the Caine list. Mr K arrives this evening, likely dead tired after a long trip to London through Joburg and Dubai. And then all of the Caine things will begin.

If you're interested, here is the podcast of the BBC interview I did a few weeks ago. They're interviewing all of the Caine shortlistees. My bit on this one is just after the middle.
Okay off to get ready for day 2 in London.