A year after veteran writer Professor Felix Mnthali started searching for publishers for his autobiography A Time to Remember, the manuscript is yet to see light of day.
Mnthali, 82, was expecting to strike a deal with one of the renowned publishers for the memoir he started writing in 2008 as a record of his life.
But in an interview, the octogenarian told On the Arts that publishers are demanding hefty contributions, a major setback in making sure that the manuscript is published.
“Publishers are profit-oriented and the ones ready to do the work demand a hefty contribution.
“The percentages vary from house to house. I put them aside to find a house that does not make such demands,” he said.
Mnthali revealed last year that he was in touch with Rivonia Media Group who promised to work with Jhango Publishers.
He was expecting to have it in shops by the end of this year or next year.
The failure to land a deal with a publisher brings to the fore yet another reason why most artists are failing to have their manuscripts published to give readers a wide range of reading materials.
Mnthali, a proven fine writer who boasts of a 1982 collection of poems When Sunset Comes to Sapitwa, has other novel manuscripts—Free at Last and Women in Power—which need publishing.
A Time to Remember, however, is the priority as it chronicles Malawi’s history from colonialism, State of Emergency, Cabinet crisis to the present multiparty dispensation. Mnthali tells this history through his life as a poet, writer and academic.
Meanwhile, the former pro-vice-chancellor of the University of Malawi (Unima) is translating his 1998 English novel Yoranivyoto into Tumbuka to make the book accessible to more readers.
“I have now begun translating Yoranivyoto from English. [It’s] hard work, but a fascinating intellectual exercise,” he said. n