Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Vanishings Will Not Be Published

It is unfortunate that I must announce that my book, The Vanishings, will no longer be published. The ebook was put up at Amazon by the publisher, Black Crake Books, but has now been taken down. The publisher was unable to meet his contractual agreement so I've had no option but to break the contract.

I apologise to anyone who was hoping to read the book. I am not sure yet what will happen. Perhaps I will look for another publisher, but that will have to be attended to in the future.

I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

17th Time of the Writer

On Sunday I leave for Durban South Africa to participate in the 17th Time of the Writer literary fesitval which takes place at the University of Kwazulu- Natal. There are panel discussion each evening at the
Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre and the panel discussion I'm on is Friday the 21st of March. The topic is youth literature. I'll be joined by Khulekani Magubane, and the facilitator is Sanelisiwe Ntuli.

Throughout the week there are various activities during the day. I'll be among writers going to
Westville Prison on Wednesday the 19th. I'm also reading and speaking at Adams College on Thursday the 20th. I'm very excited to be going to such a prestigious school who has among their alumni our first president, Sir Seretse Khama. 

I'm looking forward to meeting a host of new writers and to all of the interesting literary discussions that will undoubtedly happen. If you're around Durban, I'd love to meet you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

FunDza Literacy Trust

In Botswana, as it is in most of Africa and maybe all over the world, kids are reading less and less. Here the other problem is development budgets often have little money for libraries, and bookstores are few and far between, not to mention that most books are just too expensive. Books are about P200, with the minimum wage around P1000 and prices going up everyday, who can afford to buy a book under those circumstances?

What I find lovely, though, is when Africans sort out innovative solutions to their problems. FunDza Literacy Trust is one such solution. Cellphones have taken off big in Southern Africa and FunDza has latched on to that to get kids reading. I'm proud to be writing regularly for them.

How it works is a story begins on a Friday. Each story has seven chapters and one chapter goes out on the kids' cellphones each day. Here is my author's page with all of the stories I've written at FunDza. Click on any story and see the comments the readers leave. The kids are reading and seriously engaging with the stories! I think this is wonderful!

Friday, March 7, 2014

A Visit from The Overseas Author

On the 19th of February I trekked down to Gaborone to hear what British author Carolyn Slaughter had to say. I’d not heard of her before I found out she was coming to Botswana, but I quickly bought and read one of her books so as to have a bit of reference when I heard her speak. She lived in Botswana pre-independence when her father worked for the colonial government in Maun, Francistown, Mafikeng, and Gaborone. Her memoir, Before the Knife gives insight into expat, colonial life; that purgatory of not quite being here and not quite being there. The book is brutally honest about her experience and I appreciate that quite a bit. I’d hoped I’d hear that honesty in her talk in Gaborone.

I thought she’d speak about her experiences, her writing, her books. In any case, that’s what she knows about and one would expect her to speak about that. Instead the topic was “Where are the Botswana writers? - an inspirational discussion on African Writing and possibilities for Batswana writers”. I’m not sure where that topic originated, but I hope not with the author. I know that sometimes authors are asked to speak on topics they know very little about. There is the assumption, wrongly, that writers should know everything. When I’m in such situation, I just say no. I will not speak on something I know nothing about. I wish Ms Slaughter might have considered that answer.

She’d last been in Botswana in the 1980s as she admitted. From her talk it was clear she knew nothing about the writing done in this country either in Setswana or English. She spoke a bit about Bessie Head, but had to have facts corrected by a member of the audience.

She spoke about writing on the continent as if nothing had happened since the 1970s, speaking of Achebe and Gordimer; stating that JM Coetzee was the best author to study if you want to understand the slave/master dynamics and the nuances of colonialism (!?!!!!). The only modern writers she spoke about were Zimbabweans Petina Gappah and NoViolet Bulawayo, who she wrongly described as a lawyer. She spoke about We Need New Names, but, surprisingly, did not once mention the Caine Prize story from which the book originated, and the Prize which is so important in discovering new African fiction writers.

How do you speak about conflict and war on the continent and narratives about them and not talk about Chimamanda Adichie and Aminatta Forna? How do you speak about traditionalism vs modernism without speaking about Lola Shoneyin? How do you not mention exciting writers like Teju Cole, Binyavanga Wainaina, Lauren Beukes, Chika Unigwe, Sarah Lotz, Taiye Selasi, Damon Galgut…honestly the list goes on and on. I felt like I’d fallen into a black hole.  There are so many exciting, current writers on the continent and to only mention two writers, one of which put out a short story collection and seems to have disappeared, is not representative in any way of “an overview of African fiction”.

She went on to give suggestions about what Batswana writers might consider writing about (because we can’t find topics on our own)  and suggested that maybe there were no writers in Botswana because the country was just “too peaceful”. When she gave us all permission to write about war on the continent because wars in Africa are just as important as the wars in Europe- “all wars are equal”,  I looked around the room to see if I was the only person trying hard to stop myself from banging my head on the table in frustration.

Honestly, I don’t blame Ms Slaughter for her woeful lack of knowledge about literature on the continent and in Botswana. She doesn’t live here or write her. She knows nothing at all about the publishing climate or the challenges and opportunities we have. I do think she should have said no, this is not something I should speak about, but, for whatever reason, she decided otherwise. For that she is accountable. I guess my real beef sits with whoever invited her and gave her such a topic. It smacks of neo-colonialism- let the foreigner tell us what to do and we’ll all just nod our heads and follow. Are we not past that?
Surely we are long, long past that

(This first appeared in my column It's All Write in The Voice newspaper) 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Buy The Vanishings as an Ebook!

The Vanishings is now available as an ebook!!

People are vanishing all around Maun; a small town in northern Botswana not known for its serious crime. So far there are no bodies only clues. The kidnap victims may still be alive but the clock is ticking. Some say it is the work of a serial killer while others say that body parts are being taken from the victims for muti. Is the Spiritual Awakening Revival Church somehow involved and where does the brand new HIV/AIDS facility, Hope Institute, fit in?
Brought in to solve these crimes is disgraced detective Dambuza Chakalisa. With the help of a local resident and tour operator Delly Woods, he must get to the bottom of the mystery before it’s too late to find any of the vanished alive.

Lauri Kubuitsile is one of Botswana’s most renowned and successful authors with numerous published books in Botswana, in South Africa and overseas. She lives in Mahalapye with her family. Her stories delight children and adults alike with her keen eye for detail and knowing sense of humour.

The Vanishings is the first novel in a new crime series and we look forward to the sequel with bated breath.

Buy the Book - HERE