The Sparkle Interview – All you need to know about the Writivism Festival

NoViolet Bulawayo - 2014

We’re so excited about today’s Sparkle Interview because we are moving across Africa to the lovely Kampala, Uganda, where the 4th annual Writivism Festival is taking place. The festival is a 7-day event for all writers across the continent. Find out all you need to know about the event in our interview with the Writivism team. 

Hello. Can you please give us a brief insight into what Writivism Literary Initiative is all about?

Writivism was started in 2012, holding the first festival in 2013 to promote contemporary African Literature, support emerging writers and we have been doing this through workshops, mentoring, prizes, publishing, school visits and the festival. This year, we have even added residencies for writers to our set of activities. We are all about contributing to the building of a literary and arts infrastructure that will make it possible for writers and readers to all play their roles much more easily and conveniently.

So what is the Writivism Festival all about?

play audience 2015

The 4th Writivism Festival (scheduled for August 22 – 28, 2016) will exhibit to a Ugandan and African audience new books, in fiction, poetry, drama, photography and non fiction. 12 new titles will be launched and over 25 books will be featured in various ways. There will be readings, performances, panel discussions, a photography exhibition, a stage play, a film screening, school visits, various workshops, among other events around the theme: Restoring Connections. The festival is aimed at bringing to the fore pan African connections across language lines, generations, and art forms. What does Pan Africanism feel in the contemporary time? That will be the mood of the festival.

Who is this event for?

The event is for everybody, really. Literature and art are for everyone to consume (a terrible word to use), to enjoy, to benefit from. We take care, in our programming to ensure that the event speaks with and to various generations, people of various backgrounds, Africans, people interested in African arts, the writers, publishers and other professionals in the industry as well as those who really just want to enjoy stories, whether in print format, or digital, or even in audio forms. We aim at including everyone in the conversations. And we are very careful about the generational and age differences, so we have events specifically for teenagers for example, and for children. And of course those for adults.

shortlisters 2015

With all you’ve said, why should people attend the event? 

Wonderful question. People should attend because
a) they will have a great time:
b) it is important for them to be part of these conversations:
c) it is a moment for a wide pan African inter-cultural exchange, many new connections to make, new things to learn, and old things to reminisce about:
d) the festival activities are actually free and open for all: among many other reasons like having a chance to attend launches of new books, have copies autographed, listen to authors speak, watch a play, a film, look at beautiful photographs, all compressed into one week. What is there not to like?

What are the other attractions or highlights of the Writivism Festival?

Zukiswa 2014

We will have specific sessions where emerging authors can pitch book / story ideas to a team of literary agents; there will be a panel on the Miles Morland Foundation Scholarships with past laureates there to talk about their experiences. We are working on wonderful and fun-filled awards events for two of our prizes, the Okot P Bitek and Short Story prizes (lots of wine will be on the house and entertainment as we wait to find out who wins) in collaboration with various publishers like Cassava Republic Press, The Mantle and Bahati. We will also have special book readings, and many autographing sessions and key note addresses by top African authors

To make the week-long set of literary and arts events a worthwhile experience for everyone, the Writivism Team have prepared a residential package for attendees. The package includes decent accommodation (within walking distance of the festival venue), airport / bus stop pick-up and drop-off. Attendees will live in the same residences as the festival speakers and will have access to all festival events.


Early bird bookings are available at USD $500 from May 23 until June 24, 2016. To reserve a spot, send an email to or visit their website for more details. 


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