Uganda International Writers Conference. An exhilarating experience. Uganda’s own Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi started the three day event off with a debut of her short story collection ‘Manchester Happened.’ Reminding us all that a life away from home is not as glamorous as it seems and these experiences need to be told. She later joined six creative and fierce Ugandan female writers the next day for the launch of the New Daughters of Africa. An International Anthology of Writing by women of African descent. Thirteen of these creative works were written by Ugandan women. The future is female and this session of the conference was a showcase of the amazing female talent coming out of Uganda. Earlier that day, we watched and listened in awe as Scottish poet, Jackie Kay read from her memoir Red Dust Road that recounts events that transpired when she met her biological father for the first time. This was not a mere read, it was an unforgettable performance.
To say this event was great is an understatement. For me, it was three days of sharing space with phenomenal and creative individuals who appreciate the art of writing. This was three days of learning from women and men who have immersed themselves in the world of writing and publishing and were willing to share their successes and disappointments with us. This was three days of listening to eager voices ask questions and challenge our speakers. It was three days of great food, cake and a night of incredible poetic performances.
Thank you to the entire African Writers Trust team for creating a platform where everyone daring to bring diverse stories to the forefront can be celebrated. The Uganda International Writers Conference introduced me to people from various backgrounds. It introduced me to new and emerging writers who are breaking barriers. Being part of this conference taught me that we each have a story to tell and with spaces such as these, there are always people willing to gather around in a room and listen. I was encouraged to continue writing and not to be afraid to tell my truth.
Marjorie Namara Rugunda is a freelance Ugandan writer with a Bachelor degree in Journalism and English literature from Rhodes University. She also completed her honors in English literature at Rhodes University. She has a passion for writing and literature.