Mzuzu University (Mzuni) has released a book containing papers of Malawian renowned critics and scholars which were presented at the first International Conference on Malawian Literature in Mzuzu last year.
Titled Reading Malawian Literature: New Approaches and Theories, the book marries orality and literacy, and how the two have a bearing on Malawi’s cultural and political ideologies.
“It also demonstrates how the oral tradition has been and is being manipulated and used for new purposes in the contemporary Malawian society,” states in part the book’s foreword.
The book, co-edited by Tito Banda and Joshua Kumwenda, lays bare the generational approach in analysing Malawian literature through Jack Mapanje’s entry Fear of the Past and Hope for the Future: Malawian Literature and Its Analyses.
The 165-paged book also tackles ‘trauma,’ both past and present, Jessie Kabwila and Asante Mtenje’s Gender and Feminism in Malawian Literature, comparative study of old and new generation of writers, Mapanje’s writing and its interpretation and finally orality and its functions.
Kumwenda, who is head of Department of Languages and Literature at Mzuni, said the book can be used in universities for academic purposes because the essays are of good quality.
“The book will be helpful to universities with courses on Malawian Literature, Literary Theory and Criticism because students will have a chance to see how experts critique issues. It is also suitable for people following Malawian literature because it analyses how the past informs the present,” said Kumwenda.
He, however, noted that the book can also be read for pleasure.
“It is interesting to note how Chancellor College lecturer Kabwila has interpreted and brought out gender issues from Lucius Banda’s Zakukhosi. So the book can also be read for pleasure,” he added.
Initially, the book was supposed to be released last year. Kumwenda said it has taken long to be released because the contributors took long to submit their manuscripts.
Published by Mzuzu University, the book has other entries by Professor of African Studies at Ohio State University Lupenga Mphande, University of Malawi lecturers Damazio Mfune-Mwanjakwa and Timwa Lipenga, Mzuni lecturers Albert Harawa, Banda, Kumwenda, Lester Soko, Boston Jaston and Catholic University’s Nick Tembo.