The Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) has come under fire for taking long to publish manuscripts for the 2013 Peer Gynt Literary Award winners.
Local writers Shadreck Chikoti, Ananiya Alick Ponje and Jonathan Mbuna emerged victorious as first, second and third best writers respectively for their novels Azotus the Kingdom, Evil Assignments and Pilgrims.
The manuscripts were supposed to be published internationally as part of the awards. Two years down the line, Mawu is yet to publish them.
This has raised eyebrows among the winners, considering that Mawu has announced a shortlist of entries for this year’s awards.
But, in an interview, Mawu president Sambalikagwa Mvona promised to publish the manuscripts before awarding the next best writers in September.
He said presently the body is seeking printing services in South Africa and India.
“What we can say is that the manuscripts have been designed. We are now sourcing printers. We want to print these manuscripts in India or South Africa. By September, books should be ready,” said Mvona.
Mvona said the manuscripts were subjected to heavy editing in South Africa; a process he said has contributed to the delay in publishing.
But Mawu’s delay in printing the manuscripts has not gone down well with some of the winners.
Ponje, who is also a journalist with Times Media Group, accused Mawu of failing to update the winners on the state of their manuscripts.
“It’s a concern to me. Waiting for two years for a novel to be published is unnecessarily too long.
“I wonder how they are managing these things. They need to have a proper time-frame. There should also be proper channels of communication. Right now, I don’t have any information on the manuscripts two years after the awards. This isn’t proper,” said Ponje.
The Norwegian government supported the awards with K10 million ($20 000). Thirteen manuscripts were selected from 53 entries.