A renowned Zambian writer has called for the need to boast the publishing industry for the appreciation of the writing art and enrichment of the reading culture in Zambia.
Speaking to the Lusaka star author of final attempt novel, Freeman Mwenge says writing is a team profession hence publishers should come on board to abreast the art to greater levels.
Mr Mwenge says with vibrant publishing industry, competition will be stimulated which is currently less among writers in Zambia as a lot of work is being done in isolation.
“With a vibrant publishing industry, competition will be stimulated which is currently less among writers in Zambia because a lot of work is being done in isolation”, he adds.
He appeals to publishers to support and believe in Zambian writer and incorporate ways to enhance marketing of books and authors because many good writers in Zambia face challenges to spotlight their projects.
“At the moment if I can get away with publishing a book without anyone questioning my material or offering a proper critique to it, then basically I do not have any competition which is an important ingredient to the health of the art,” he discloses.
The author states that it is imperative to encourage enthusiastic reading because it promotes the quality of education indicators such as grammar and writing skills at most levels of our education system.
He notes that it’s essential for writers to publish good and interesting articles to motivate people to read because interest is a major determining factor to becoming a bookworm.
Mr Mwenge further says that it is more of a reason why writers should cover different genres to cater for various personality interests of readers“, he adds.
“It is really sad to note that some Pupils and students are facing serious challenges in grasping and writing effectively in their daily academic assessments, such state of affairs which should not be the case, “he highlights.
When our colleagues from the Western world says, “to keep a secret off Africans, just put in a book and you've taken it off from them” they mean that the reading culture in the entire continent is very poor. As Africans our reading habit needs much improvement to be desired.
Mr Mwenge states that the attitude of many African youths is discouraging as compared to that of the youth in western countries; reading culture cannot improve unless we explain with emphasis the benefits that sprout with it.
“It is worth noting that when former Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan launched the- bring the book back and be my friend campaign, it’s a sign that it’s always influential for a prominent person to promote a good cause ’’, Mr Mwenge adds.
Mr Mwenge says that it is disheartening to acknowledge that many book buyers would rather look down on a Zambian writer and prefer buying a cheaper international book written by a well-known author.
“Rather than giving useful critique to their work on an intellectual platform it’s disappointing for authors to be ridiculed in most cases when their books do not meet international standards”, says Mr Mwenge.
He however, notes that what helps improve the writing industry is an effective and authoritative literary critique system which he says Zambia and Africa in general is lacking.
When asked what are some of the challenges he faces in the industry he states that most Zambian writers have to be a marketer, Public Relations specialist ,editor and even sales person for their book which can be draining.
He discloses that Writing is a team profession hence support should come from all sectors involved in the art.
“If there are no writers how do you expect to have readers and publishers,” he questions.
He discloses that it is hard being a writer in Zambia because one has to struggle for recognition; it is even more challenging to young writers in the industry.
And a local TV producer Bernard Chungu told the Lusaka Star that it is good to read because it provides an escape from the harsh realities of life to readers.
“Reading books allows people to not only explore places they can never even visit but to enrich their critical analysis capabilities as well”, says Mr Chungu”.
He stresses that writers owe Zambia a lot because the writers have great power to show the World how rich Zambia's culture through writing.