Malawi Writers Union (Mawu) president Sambalikagwa Mvona has defended criticisms that the writer’s body awards entries described as below standard by judges in writing competitions.
This comes after Mawu awarded five writers in the Peer Gynt Literary Award and a fortnight after it awarded 10 in the 2013 FMB/Mawu Short Story Writing Competition. Judges in both competitions described entries for the competition as below standard.
But in an interview, Mvona said the judges’ statements are usually sweeping as they originate from a general observation. He said every competition has good and bad entries and said, for the two last competitions, the judges struggled to settle for the winner as competition was stiff.
“It is not true that the awards go to people who are not deserving. In every competition, there are some who are better than the others. Judges’ comments do not mean that we have trash in creative writing. What lacks in most articles is good use of language and grammar, but we have creativity in the country,” insisted Mvona.
While admitting that there is a lot that needs to be done for the country to have writers who can author materials that can compete in international competitions, Mvona said Mawu has been conducting trainings and workshops.
“With the current observations in the competition, we will do everything possible to have some workshops with writers. We have received very few entries from female writers and some of the entries have been poor. We are mobilising funds to have a women’s creative writing training very soon and during the training, we will ask the participants to produce articles using the knowledge gained and it will be up to them to submit them for this year’s FMB/Mawu awards,” said Mvona.