Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2012 Caine Prize Workshop: Volmoed

One of the wonderful things about being shortlisted for the Caine Prize is that the following year you get invited to attend the Caine Workshop. The workshop lasts for ten days (this year 5-15 March) and takes place in various places around Africa. This year we've been lucky to be in a tiny corner of heaven called Volmoed which is near Hermanus South Africa. I took the photo above from one of the trails up into the mountains that surround Volmoed. If you look carefully in the valley in the middle of the photograph above there are the collection of lovely houses where we are staying.

From last year's shortlist, only Beatrice Lamwaka and I were able to attend. The other writers were chosen from around Africa. They include: Mehul Gohil (Kenya), Brenda Mukami (Kenya), Waigwa Ndiangui (Kenya), Tendai Rinos Mwanaka (Zimbabwe), Grace Khunou (South Africa), Rehana Roussouw (South Africa), Yewande Omotoso (South Africa) and Rachel Zadok (South Africa)

Above is the waterfall on one of the trails around Volmoed. Volmoed is usually a retreat for Christians and most of these trails have benches for a person to sit and pray or meditate. In our case, to think about our stories. We are here for ten days and during those days we are meant to be writing a short story that must be handed over at the end ready for publication. The stories produced here will be added to this year's shortlisted stories to make the Caine Anthology for 2012.

We are lucky to have two very good facilitators; Henrietta Rose-Innes (a former Caine Prize winner) and Jamal Mahjoub, an accomplished author from Sudan via UK. Since I'm normally a very fast writer, I thought before I came that I might find ten days far too much for the work required. But the process used allowed me to slow down and take more time to try and really understand how my story works, something I never do. I'm quite instinctual in my process with short stories. Either it works or it doesn't. I don't take the time to evaluate why something works or doesn't work. I really enjoyed the process and learned a lot about the inner workings of a short story.

Each night 3-4 writers read bits of their story that they've completed and the rest of us make comments.

In the mountains around Volemoed is the fynbos the Cape is so well known for. Above (I think ) is one of the fynbos flowers. I took the photo out on one of my morning walks. Another common feature of walks in these mountains are baboons- lots of them, lots of big ones. Mean ones with teeth. So far no writers have been eaten.

The workshop is nearly over and it has been fantastic. I've met some lovely people, had some interesting conversations, and have had far too much fun. A big, big thank you to The Caine Prize folks.


Dutiful daughter said...

Hi Lauri, lovely to see you and the gorgeous place you have been staying and writing in. From me and K. K says "I loved the beautiful fynbos and the wonderful views. Thanks for taking us to the waterfall."

Sue Guiney said...

It sounds, and looks, glorious! What a boon that Caine Prize was to you.

Henrietta said...

Hey Lauri what great pics! It was so nice to spend time with you these last few days.

mwanakacreativewriter said...

hey it was great. you were awesome mum, thanks

karen said...

Hi Lauri, what a beautiful place - well done for earning a spot in the workshop, and I do hope that the short stories turned out well!

Lauri said...

@ Dutiful Daughter- it was lovely to have the two of you on the river.

@Sue- yes this Caine prize is a prize that keeps on giving, and I didn't even win!!!!HA!

@Henrietta- Yes it was lovely to spend time with you and get to know you better. You're actually hilarious behind that brilliant exterior. And I'm so pleased none of us were killed by Zombie Baboons, of course there may be kangaroos in our future but we'll deal with that as it comes.

@Rre Tendai- hope you've made it home to Zim successfully and are now implementing Plan A of "Get A Wife". Keep me posted.

@Karen- I think this year's Caine anthology will be one of the best, really nice stories.

mr prepaid guy said...

Beautiful and lovely place. ♥