RSS Feed (xml)

Powered By

Skin Design:
Free Blogger Skins

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The literary volcano that Beverly Nambozo is

If there’s one person that has played her part in the rise of Uganda’s literary industry, particularly in the area of poetry, it’s Nambozo, writes Dennis D. Muhumuza 

Not that she has written a best seller, but Nambozo’s zeal in the elevation and appreciation of home literature is unquestionable. From the day she joined the Uganda Female Writers Association (Femrite) about 10 years ago, she has had a couple of short stories and poems published in journals and anthologies of acclaim in East Africa and abroad.

Her latest story can be found in Talking Tales (2009), a collection of short stories and poems by Femrite members. Titled Paddling, it’s a moving account of a young girl who gets impregnated by a priest and is contemplating throwing herself in a lake after she’s shunned.

Most of her poems, just like her short stories, are irresistibly sad and personal. As she confesses in one of her blog entries, she finds it difficult to write creatively when she’s happy: “Sadness makes me create. Emptiness makes me want to feel full and so I write...”

Bev, as is fondly known to friends, has worked as a teacher at Greenhill Academy and as radio presenter at Power FM but writing has always been her number one love. She quit her job at the East African Sub-regional Support Initiative for the Advancement of Women to focus on writing.

The effervescent lady had long observed a glaring absence of a platform devoted to promoting poetry for and by Ugandan women. So, she founded the annual BN Poetry Awards that recently celebrated their second anniversary with Sophie Alal’s poem, Making Modern Love, scooping the top prize of $250 and an autographed copy of Dr Susan Kiguli’s poetry collection, The African Saga. 

The 33-year-old was immediately nominated for the August 2009 Arts Press Association (APA) Awards for rejuvenating indigenous poetry. She has since extended the poetry awards project to schools to stimulate students to “push their pens to the pinnacle.”

“The schools project is aimed at meeting the financial and literary needs of both male and female students through linking poetry to financial literacy,” she says. “After several sessions, students will submit poems that speak largely on saving, investment and the culture of money. These poems shall then be reviewed by a panel of judges after which they will be printed and distributed amongst other schools in the region.”

Even more, her initiative has birthed what is called Azania, an inter-university literary platform organised by Lillian Akampurira Aujo, winner of the top prize in the inaugural BN Poetry Awards for her poem, Soft Tonight. 

“My intention is to continue making poetry matter,” says Bev. “There are several individuals and better established groups I’ve met in Uganda and East Africa that are doing a lot of work to promote poetry and I’m humbled to be part of a similar work as theirs.”

A holder of a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a concentration in English studies and literature, Bev explains her obsession with poetry in an article: “Poets are synonymous with passion. Poetry is part of the thrill of life…most Ugandan poets I know have told me that poetry takes them to peaks of passion; it saves them from stress and heals them from heartache. I agree with it all…and I’m proud of being a part of the growing wisdom that comes with words.”

After coming third in an international poetry competition organised by the UK-based erbacce-press, Bev won the publishing contract, and her first book, Unjumping, gets released in October this year. She also landed a scholarship for a Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, UK.

Inspired by Ugandan poets Dr Susan Kiguli, Prof Timothy Wangusa, Mildred Kiconco Barya and Joseph Kitaka Semutooke, Bev is organising a poetry training workshop for the participants in her previous poetry awards.

In what should pass as an aside, she’s happily married and a mother of one daughter. She’s also a competitive swimmer and dancer and her favourite quote is: “Each one of us is a volcano. Some extinct, some dormant and some active!”

--Sunday Monitor, October 3, 2010