It’s 1 March 2021. A host of hopeful writers check their manuscripts one last time, make sure they’ve said all they want to say. Laptops screens across South Africa are abuzz with blue light as these writers prepare to click the submit button. The first to do so is an aspiring isiZulu playwright, from Harrismith in Free State. She clicks submit, butterflies in his stomach, and waits.
Soon after, more writers finish the submission process. A Sesotho novelist from Matatiele, a Siswati poet from Manzolwandle. Many more follow. From Atteridgeville, Port St Johns, Johannesburg, Butterworth – writers set free their beloved works with dreams of publishing them.
WritePublishRead, now in its fourth year, provides any author with a free tutorial and platform to publish his/her fiction digitally. Last year, in the assisted leg of this project, we assisted 11 first-time authors (writing in previously under-published languages) to successfully launch their careers as self-published authors.
This year, we are helping first-time authors give flight to thousands of words. These words make up novels, poetry anthologies, short stories and dramas. They are stories of South Africans writing in their mother tongue. They are our stories.
We are so pleased to announce that this year’s cohort includes aspiring writers from all nine official African languages. The only language we have not received any submission for to date, is a First Nations language. We encourage all First Nations writers to submit next year.
Only 14% of South Africans read regularly. We began the WritePublishRead initiative in 2018 to make it possible to have a local author in every community inspiring people to read. Now, with our 2021 cohort of authors, we continue to add diverse voices to the South African literature landscape.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is the list of selected authors!
Selected authors for #WPR2021
Siphosonke Mazibuko, isiZulu drama
Yamkela Lekhoana, Sesotho novelette
Sinethemba Bhila, Siswati collection of poetry
Thulani Simayile, isiXhosa short story collection
Lungelo Nolobo, isiXhosa novelette
Makhanani Mahlaule, Xitsonga novelette
Bongeka Buhle Hlengwa-Selepe, isiZulu collection of poetry
Samuel Makgai, Sepedi collection of poetry
Avhapfani Judith Ndhobela, Tshivenda short story
Patiance Mahlangu, isiNdebele collection of poetry
Tshepo Gaerupe, Setswana collection of poetry
Andrew Maroga, Sepedi novelette
Congratulations to these authors! We will be in touch with you in the coming days to welcome you to the programme.