PE hosts Weaver Press literary event

HARARE - Harare’s Prince Edward High School will tomorrow host a “Meet the Author” session in which Shimmer Chinodya and Valerie Tagwira, authors of Strife and The Uncertainty of Hope respectively, will discuss their books with veteran arts personality and writer Ignatius Mabasa and medical doctor and public health practitioner Sunanda Ray.

Both books are “A” Level Literature in English set texts.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, Irene Staunton of Weaver Press — conveners of the event and publishers of the two authors — said they were looking forward to the event.

“The event will give “A” Level teachers and students first-hand contact with the authors and listen to them discussing their works. This will help them relate to the books and understand…. Very often teachers and students do not have the opportunity to interact with authors,” said Staunton.

On the one hand, Shimmer is not new on the Zimbabwean literary scene. He is undoubtedly one of the country’s most successful writers, having penned several works of fiction as well as the Step Ahead English language textbook series currently used in secondary schools.

Strife is not an ordinary book as it explores the paralysis wrought by the tension between tradition and modernity. The narrative goes back 150 years to try and dig up the Gwanangaras’ history.

Set in 1979, around the time of the demise of colonialism in Zimbabwe, Strife also looks at issues like patriarchy, fatalism, shame, modernity, education and medicine and one wonders if these would bring solutions to the Gwanangara family’s challenges.

It is a family of apparently well-educated brothers, who have managed to reach university but find themselves having to revisit an aggrieved past.

However, their biggest predicament is that they think as modern people who have had a brush with western ways of life, they cannot use traditional methods to navigate through life’s problems.

On the other hand, Tagwira, who is  a Zimbabwe-trained medical doctor working in London and frequently travels home, explores the country’s contemporary experiences.

The Uncertainty of Hope is set in the high-density suburb of Mbare and revolves around Onai Moyo — a market woman and mother of three — as she and others like her battle to survive in the face of poverty, homelessness, HIV/Aids, domestic violence and other socio-economic challenges.

Onai becomes a representative of the common Zimbabwean woman and the book could be said to be tracing the intricacies of how people are manoeuvring to survive in difficult times.

Tomorrow’s Meet the Author session, due to start at 2.15pm, will no doubt give the two authors renewed relevance as their works will get discussed on such an open platform.

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