The launch of Pemphero Mphande’s What You See at Sun Rise, on Saturday offered celebrated writers an opportunity to tackle issues affecting their trade, including self-publishing.
The debate comes amid a rise in the number of writers publishing and releasing books. The development has seen many up-and-coming writers publishing their books and self selling them.
Mphande’s book is also self-published.
During the launch, one of the country’s renowned writers Ken Lipenga noted that while it is refreshing to witness a rise in the number of new writers who have resorted to self-publishing, it is important to put into consideration all possible challenges and gains of the route.
“It is a fact that self-publishing gives an author the freedom to explore and make maximum profit. But, it also comes with the risk of poor editing, among others,” he said.
The journalist, author and politician said many budding writers make the mistake of taking their work as the best.
“I remember when I was at Chancellor College, I had several up-and-coming writers who kept on referring to their works as master pieces. But after going through a few pages, I easily noticed several errors in grammar, flow and structure,” recalled Lipenga.
The author, therefore, advised up-and-coming authors, to ensure that they get as much help as possible from established editors, English lecturers and veteran or seasoned writers.
In his contribution made virtually, another writer Tiyambe Zeleza said self-publishing is fine as long as the author pays attention to detail.
He said: “Writing in large sense, therefore, is an intellectual, ideological and aesthetic enterprise, in which words and images, meditated through texts, signs and symbols are the weapons of composition and combat. That is why great writers often agonise over the precision of the words they use, the beauty, lyricism and evocative power of language even if they are describing the mundane or the horrific.”
Zeleza added that writing and publishing are social practices in that what is written, published and read and why and how it is written, published and read depend on a contingent of social arrangements.
“Writing is socially constituted act that uses collective resources, including language and knowledge accumulated over time shared unequally by members of society according to the inscriptions and hierarchies of class, race, gender, nationality ethnicity and other social markets,” says Zeleza.
On his part, Lupenga Mphande, father to Pemphero and teaches at Ohio State University in the United States of America, said it is great to witness the rise of a new generation of writers in Malawi.
He said:“The pioneer Malawi writers who set standards are many. But one of their distinctive features is their remarkable versatility, or ability to adapt to many different function or activities.
“So, though the crop of these veteran writers were trained in literature and creative writing, the flowering of Malawi writing has seen evidence of an emerging versatility of talent such as Tiyambe Zeleza who is political economic history scholar, but wrote the unforgettable novel The Smoldering Charcoal.”
Mphande said he sees his son Pemphero and a crop of young writers taking the same path.
“What You See at Sunrise is a collection of short stories. I can safely say these stories reflect Pemphero’s life story because they mirror the society that he grew up in, the society he still lives today,” he said.
Pemphero said wrote the book to express himself better.
“Writing is better than speaking. I have a wild imagination and the collection of short stories in my book is fiction but have a touch of reality,” he said.
Pemphero’s book launch was spiced by music performances from Keturah and Tropiex and Ellijah.
What You See at Sun Rise is now available at K13 500 per copy through National Bank account 1007254896, or Airtel Money 0995812409 and TNM Mpamba 0889904196.