kivu writers national conference 2008

this is an article i wrote for connect magazine, about the kivu writers conference this year:

felix from our new fund-raising team guest speaker twahirwa alfred doing a demonstration with a few kivu writers eugene and cathryn signing the statutes of the new kivu writers organization

Once the rain had stopped coming down in torrents but before the rivers and lakes had seeped out of the streets, I made my way by moto to the Kigali Institute of Education for the Kivu Writers National Conference of 2008. Firmin and Damascene, the leaders of Kivu Writers, were unpacking water bottles out of soggy cardboard boxes while guests began to filter in. The guests were the Kivu Writers themselves, a highly talented group of young Rwandan poets, novelists, journalists, and song-writers who had been trained in the art of creative writing through the Kivu Writers Workshops.

Each year, twenty Kivu Writers are selected among secondary school students, through a national writing competition which demands a high standard of writing in French, English, and Kinyarwanda. The writers are then brought to the shores of the beautiful Lake Kivu, in the western province of Rwanda, for a series of creative-writing workshops. Since its inception in 2000 by a handful of VSO volunteers, the Kivu Writers Organization has been developing students’ techniques in journalistic writing, dramatic writing, short-story writing, and poetry. At the end of its workshop cycle, the culmination of students’ work is displayed in a magazine. The annual National Conference is an opportunity for all of the previous participants to meet each other, to create links, and to support each other in current and future writing projects.

In the morning, the guest speaker, Mr. Alfred Twahirwa, a writer of radio drama, inspired the participants to create writing projects and formulate plans on how to fund and publish them. These plans will hopefully be implemented by the Kivu Writers Organization in the future. In the afternoon, the microphone was handed over to guests who performed the poems, stories, and songs they had written in the last year. There was applause, back-slapping, laughter, and networking throughout the day as writers from all over the country caught up on news since last year’s conference. In the end, the director, Firmin Dusengumuremyi, spoke about the progress the group has made towards reaching official status as a Rwandan not-for-profit organization.

The Kivu Writers Organization is a one-of-a-kind project in Rwanda, providing support and a creative outlet for these gifted young writers. Yet there is still more to be done. The group hopes to expand their operations to include regional writing clubs, school visits, training to more participants, and publishing opportunities for Rwandan writers. For more information, contact kivuwriters@gmail.com.

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~ by aliciawolcott on October 4, 2008.

One Response to “kivu writers national conference 2008”

  1. unrelated to this posting or intestines:

    sneaking downstairs, on christmas eve, i saw a sight that you just wouldn’t believe. st. nick, by the fireplace, dusting off his bottom with a frown on his face. he said “hey” i said “what” he said “you” i said “what” he said “you left the fire burning and i burnt my butt.” so now i’ve learned, you’ve got the turn, the fireplace down so santa won’t get burned.

    have a funky funky christmas.

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