She is a budding writer whose work crosses literary genres. She has published both locally and internationally. And now, Blantyre-based Ekari Mbvundula is hoisting the Malawi flag high as she is contesting in a Pan-African contest, The Writer Competition.
The Writer Competition is an online reality writing competition created by The Naked Convos for up-and-coming writers on the continent.
During the competition, 12 contestants shortlisted from qualification entry submissions based on the quality of their flash fiction are given a topic or theme to write on each week.
The public, as well as judges, assess them and vote to keep the best writers in the competition until one is left, the winner—The Writer.
Mbvundula last week survived the first litmus test as she ended up in top three after public voting.
Under the romance theme, her first story The Chief’s Daughter, The Warrior and The Grootslanga massed 524 votes to survive eviction.
“It feels amazing and you know I have received incredible support from Malawians and people from many other countriestoo! People vote not just as a Buy Malawi initiative but because they enjoy my story and see themselves in it,” she said in an interview.
She added: “It is a tale based in the ancient Maravi Kingdom about a daring rescue on Mount Mulanje, facing a fearsome monster. Can love conquer all that? Read and see.”
With voting underway for week three evictions, Mbvundula’s hopes lie in her story, No Room ForThe Dead.
“Last week under the politics theme, my story, Blood Feud. This week it’s its speculative fiction and I have an interesting story which people can read and vote on www.thewriter.thenakedconvos.com.
“People must vote again if they want to see me make it in the competition as we continue to write stories based on themes that are kept secret until the release day,” she said.
But when did she begin writing?
“I’ve been writing since I was seven years old. I wrote poetry and folktales . In secondary school I wrote stage plays and acted in them too. University also opened up an opportunity to write stage plays which got me a good amount of recognition.
“Post academia, I’ve maintained my fiction writing regardless of what else I do. However, I’ve been publishing my work for five years mostly on my blog. I’m working on my first novel right now, a sci-fi set in a future Malawi,” she said.
Talking about her book, she hints: “It’s a speculative fiction about Malawi in a future where robots of all sizes become a part of the society, and environmentalism is strictly enforced by law.
“It is still deep in the drafting process, so just watch this space. It depends on how soon I finish it and on how soon publishers pick it up.”
An environmentalist by profession, her influences include JK Rowling, Eoin Colfer and Octavia Butler.
The 28-year-old has one motto: “I ‘weave words into worlds’. This is an ambition where I hope to one day rank my work alongside the great fantasy and sci-fi writers who have inspired me. The real magic comes by turning these flat black symbols we call words into dreamscapes in the mind. Whenever I write, I aim to achieve that.”