Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Writers, journalists, editors, poets, and translators

Sometimes paradise comes under the most unexpected guises. For example, a workshop with a panel of American writers, poets, journalists, editors, and translators.

Invited by the Cultural Center of the U.S. Embassy in Maputo, a group of five writers from the University of Iowa presented a series of workshops talking about what they do, why they do it, how they do it.

The audience, mostly young journalist students from Mozambique, were hungry for information and seemed eager to know more about the craft, the process, the career, the challenges. The writers were fun, honest, approachable and down to earth. Not to mention engaging and interesting. The flow of the conversation, though carried in two languages, was kept at a good pace by a very skilled interpreter and some of the participants who were bilingual. What else
can one ask?

Mozambican poets and writers also had the chance to present their work. The following day, there was more time for discussions during the presentation at the Associação dos Escritores Moçambicanos (Mozambican Writers Association). I felt fortunate to be able to fully understand the nuances of both languages and had a great time observing the coming together of these very different cultures.
You can play 'Where is Waldo' and try to find me in this photo.

Plus, in a weird way, I felt at home. It was only during these presentations that I realized how much had I been missing my readings, my writing groups, my “real” work, books, meetings with colleagues, my libraries (Oh, VPL, if you only knew how much you mean to me!). Next obvious step, was to raid the bookcases of my friends here. Picky-ness out of the window due to lack of choice, I've been reading some *interesting* stuff.

But at least I won’t read-starve.

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