Department of Languages and Linguistics hosts a Creative Writing Workshop

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Dr. Tom Odhiambo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Literature at the University of Nairobi giving a talk on Writing in the arts and culture at the Creative Writing Workshop. PHOTO: Ernest Mwanzi

By Ernest Mwanzi and Dr. Martin Mburu
The Department of Languages and Literature through its initiatives to celebrate and inspire production of creative works, hosted a creative writing workshop on Friday, July 26 at Lecture Theatre two at the Chandaria School of Business.
With the theme ‘Celebrating African Geniuses’ the event focused on discussing issues around creative writing and getting to meet celebrated writers to share insights and their experiences to enable USIU-Africa students and the community at large to get involved in creative writing.
Dr. Tom Odhiambo, a Senior Lecturer, department of Literature at the University of Nairobi led a discussion on writing in the arts and culture. He challenged the participants to do more writing because Kenya is a net importer of art and culture. He also emphasized on archiving the existing stories.
John Kamau, Editor, Investigations and Special Projects at the Nation Media Group talked about Creative investigative journalism. He gave a spellbinding presentation about his journey from an archeology student, to a recorded artist and award-winning journalist. “The beauty of writing is in the descriptions, there is a big market for creative writers. I advise students to pursue a degree that is specialized in the field of creative writing before pursuing Journalism,” he said.
Dr. Pablo Rubio, Assistant Professor of Spanish at USIU-Africa, had the arduous task of compressing decades of Spanish and Latin American Literature into a twenty-minute presentation and made a distinction between Spanish and Latin American Literature.
As the workshop came to an end there was a final presentation on writing and publishing in vernacular. Stephen Ndegwa an Adjunct faculty at USIU-Africa drove the conversation focused on his first book, ‘Khoto Mbere’, the first ever individual anthology of Kikuyu poetry, released in November 2018. It was a culmination of years of writing out his thoughts on different life experiences, both at individual and community levels.
He took the audience through the process of self-publishing, the merits and demerits of publishing in vernacular. Ndegwa is in the final stages of completing his second anthology, this time with a collection of English poems. The book will be published later this year. The author also envisions a Kiswahili poetry book in the future.
The department will host another workshop in January 2020 where they will invite more participants, especially students to write short stories and have them discussed at the workshop.

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