When I applied for the African Writers Trust Publishing Fellowship Programme and was subsequently shortlisted for the workshop, I thought I knew what I was supposed to know about self-publishing. After all, I have self-published three books already and I knew what it takes to be a self-published author, right? No. I was actually many years behind with what I knew as a writer. I hate the realization that what I thought I knew was just guess work and worse, the information I had wasn’t useful to me as a self-published author.
I come from a country (Zambia) where such opportunities are rare and whatever I thought I knew–which I literally taught myself, wasn’t quite sufficient looking at the support I need as a self-published author. AWT Fellowship gave me just that!
The workshop allowed me to reflect on my space and time to find a purpose in my writing career. I also found a sense of belonging among fellow African writers. I was awe-struck by their bios and the different genres they write.
The conversations and tasks challenged me while providing me with a clear vision of how I should look at writing and publishing. It gave me the fire in my soul to do more. It was an inspiring and thought-provoking workshop that gave me insight into how I will do things in the near future.
I always had self-doubt but now I have hope for me and every African who wants to self-publish. I came to understand that as a writer, I’m not supposed to just write. I`m a brand and a business person who must take writing as a business seriously. The lessons I learnt at the AWT Fellowship will last me a lifetime and I will use them to teach and also to help upcoming self-published authors in Zambia.
When I came back home, my thinking shifted on how I view my books, myself as a writer and how I must apply the knowledge I gained from the workshop.
I feel inspired and highly motivated knowing that I’m a Fellow of the African Writers Trust. This means so much to me and is a milestone in my writing career.
I’m now formulating marketing plans and a budget for my current and future projects as we were instructed during the workshop.
The workshop was like a Master Class and I remain forever grateful to AWT.
AWT should continue to inspire African writers and writing at a time when there’s little appetite in most African national agendas for supporting the arts and specifically the art of writing.
The lessons learnt from AWT Fellowship as I see them, inspire confidence in the participants and give a new sense of meaning to African writers’ dedication to professional story-telling.
I commend Goretti Kyomuhendo for embodying the true spirit of keeping African writing alive and well on the continent at a time many are deserting it on account of commercial interest. She is a true inspiration and an important anchor for an art form with little support.
Ingrid Nayame is an emerging award-winning Zambian novelist; and self-published author of three books entitled The Last Laugh, The Coloured Vine and Cupid’s Arrow printed in 2017, 2018 and 2020 respectively.