Female writers in the country have an opportunity to be part of a regional digital booklet titled Our Voices, an initiative of a continental women empowerment organisation Pepeta Africa.
The organisation is inviting literary and artistic submissions from young women from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe to be part of the Beijing Platform for Action review process 25 years after the declaration was adopted.
The publication will curate women’s reflections and experiences in their lives and rights, according to a statement from Pepeta Africa.
The statement further says literary submissions should be in the form of short stories or excerpts from longer pieces of writing such as novels, poetry, personal narratives and testimonies, interviews, essays and articles. The entries should not exceed 800 words for poetry and 2 500 words for other submissions.
In the artistic works category, eligible contributions include paintings, drawings, illustrations, graphic designs and photo essays of not more than five photos.
Reads the statement in part: “Contributors will receive a token of $50 [about K37 000] upon successful publication. Works submitted remain the work of the artist after submission. However, there is need to acknowledge the contribution of the platform should the work be subsequently be published elsewhere.”
One of the country’s renowned female writers Ekari Mbvundula welcomed the initiative, saying any opportunity that encourages local writers to produce more content is welcome.
She said: “Being recognised at a regional level can come with opportunities far beyond the region. But the winners should make the most of it by starting or building their personal platforms so they can network with a wider base of writers and readers.”
Mbvundula said the theme is multidimensional and with local female writers adding their voices, their writing can help bring a better understanding to it.
“They have the choice to write about what they feel and act as a beacon to other female writers. New female local writers such as Angasa Salome and Caroline Kautsire are publishing. This shows that every day our voices are being heard in many forms,” said Mbvundula.
Book Publishers Association of Malawi president Maureen Masamba, in a separate interview, echoed Mbvundula’s sentiments, saying the project is a great opportunity for female writers to be exposed on an international platform and a chance to voice out the issues that they face as women.