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Five notable and famous young writers in Malawi according to search engines

Story Club FM

5 Jun 2023

These are five notable famous and young writers recognized by any Ai search engine in the world, including chatGPT.

Stanley Onjezani Kenani (born in 1976) is a Malawian writer of poetry and short stories. He has performed at the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, Poetry Africa in Durban, South Africa, Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in Harare, Zimbabwe, and at the Struga Poetry Evenings in North Macedonia. He has read with several famous African and world poets, including Mahmoud Darwish of Palestine, Natalie Handal of Palestine/USA, Carolyn Forche of USA, Dennis Brutus of South Africa, Keorapetse Kgositsile of South Africa, Shimmer Chinodya of Zimbabwe, Chirikure Chirikure of Zimbabwe, Benedicto Wokomaatani Malunga of Malawi and Alfred Msadala of Malawi among others.

From 2004 to 2007, Kenani served as president of the Malawi Writers Union, an organization that as of 2014 had 800 members. An accountant who is also a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Certified Public Accountant in Malawi (CPA-M), he also serves as acting treasurer for the Pan African Writers' Association (PAWA), a continental body of writers with headquarters in Accra, Ghana.

Kenani's collection of poems Slaughterhouse of Sanity is yet to be published, but several poems in it have been published in A Hudson View and other journals and magazines. His short story collection, For Honor and Other Stories, was published by eKhaya in 2011.

Kenani has won multiple short story writing honors. In 2007, his short story "For Honour" took third place in the HSBC/SA PEN Competition, which drew entrants from 12 Southern African countries and was judged by Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee. The same short story was shortlisted in 2008 for the Caine Prize (the highest literary award for African writing, sometimes referred to as "The African Booker").The story is published in the anthology African Pens: New Writing From Southern Africa 2007. In 2012, Kenani was shortlisted a second time for the Caine Prize for his story "Love on Trial".

In April 2014 he was named in the Hay Festival's Africa39 project as one of the 39 Sub-Saharan African writers aged under 40 with the potential and talent to define trends in African literature.

Shadreck Chikoti, a luminary of African culture and literature, captivates hearts and minds with his remarkable talent for defying stereotypes and reshaping the perception of Malawian writing.

Renowned multinational cable news channel CNN, through its program African Voices, has lauded him as one of Africa's foremost cultural managers and writers, unafraid to challenge conventions and carve a distinct path in the realm of African literature. In fact, CNN goes so far as to place him among the select group of seven contemporary African writers that are an absolute must-read.Having previously served as the Vice President of the Malawi Writers Union, an umbrella organization for writers, Shadreck Chikoti has dedicated himself to nurturing and elevating the literary landscape of his homeland. In 2009, he co-founded Pan African Publishers Ltd, an endeavor born from his visionary collaboration with Danish writer Trine Andersen. This publishing venture stands as a testament to Chikoti's enduring commitment to promoting African voices and facilitating literary discourse.

In 2013, Shadreck embarked on yet another pioneering venture, establishing The Story Club Malawi—a vibrant hub where artists converge, exchange ideas, and cultivate the growth of art in Malawi. This creative haven has flourished, giving rise to a tapestry of subsidiaries that include an enchanting arts café, an artist residency nestled by the serene shores of Salima, and most notably, an arts radio station known as Story Club FM.

Notably, Chikoti's literary prowess garnered international recognition when he was nominated by the Africa39 project as one of the "most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora" in 2014. His illustrious journey in the realm of writing is underpinned by a foundation of diverse professional qualifications, encompassing journalism, radio production, and communication. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theology and Communication from African Bible College and has pursued professional diplomas in writing from esteemed institutions such as the Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. In 2019 Shadreck participate in the prestigious International Writers Programme at the University of Iowa in the United States, where he worked on his forth coming novel, “Prayer Doll.”

Chikoti has masterfully carved a niche for himself through his remarkable contributions to speculative fiction, an esteemed genre within African literature. His novel "Azotus the Kingdom," set in an enigmatic African nation of the future, has garnered significant acclaim and was nominated for the prestigious Africa Nommo Awards. His distinctive voice as a pioneer of African speculative fiction echoes powerfully throughout the continent, captivating readers and expanding the horizons of African storytelling.

Presently, Shadreck Chikoti holds the esteemed position of Head of Media Writing for the State Residencies Malawi.

Upile Chisala: Upile Chisala is a storyteller from Malawi and a graduate of the University of Oxford. She is known for her short and powerful poems. Chisala recently signed a three-book publishing deal with US based publishing house Andrews McMeel. ‘soft magic’ and ‘nectar’ (2019) and ‘a fire like you’ (2020) are her collections of poetry and prose. She was among the 2019 Forbes Africa’s 30 under 30 list. Chisala been featured in several publications to name a few Okay Africa, Huffington Post, Elle SA, Essence, Glamour and more. She is the founder and facilitator of the poetry mentorship program ‘Khala Series’. She lives in Johannesburg.

Muthi NHLEMA , a civil engineer by training, is a short story writer from Malawi known notably for his contribution to African Speculative Fiction and Fantasy.

Spotlighted as one of the 100 African Writers of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy by Geoff Ryman, Muthi’s first foray into speculative fiction was his novella, Ta O’Reva”, about the return of Nelson Mandela to a post-apocalyptic South Africa.

The novella won third prize at the 2015 International Freeditorial Long-Short Story Competition and was also shortlisted for Best Novella at the inaugural 2017 Nommo Award for African Speculative Fiction, alongside internationally acclaimed writers such as Nnedi Okorafor. An excerpt of the novella, ‘Legacy’, about a murder of a white South African farmer, was longlisted for the 2015 Writivism Short Story Prize and runner-up for the 2015 Dede Kamkondo Short Story Award (the latter judged by renowned Malawian poet, Jack Mapanje and two time Caine prize nominee, Stanley Onjezani Kenani).

Muthi’s second short piece of speculative fiction, ‘One Wit’ This Place’, about a broken family trying to survive a world ravaged by climate change, opened the 2016 Imagine Africa 500 anthology, and was later re-published by the Manchester Review in 2017. The story received positive reviews including a mention by Wole Talabi, a reputed Nigerian editor, as one of the top 10 African Science Fiction and Fantasy Short Fiction pieces of 2016.

Muthi’s other non-speculative fiction pieces include ‘Journey of Restoration’, about a chance encounter between two people with a shared dark past, was touted by Shadreck Chikoti as one of ‘Best Short Stories by a Malawian’, and ‘Free Seating’, a first-person account of an unpleasant bus-ride with a twist, won the 2015 FMB-MAWU Short Story Prize.

In late 2021, Muthi was selected to participate in the International Writers Programme at the University of Iowa in the United States, one of the most prestigious writing residencies in the world, making him the fifth Malawian writer to participate in the residency since its founding in 1967.

Mphatso Mwapasa: Mphatso Mwapasa is a talented young writer from Malawi known for her compelling fiction. Her short stories have been published in both local and international literary magazines, showcasing her ability to weave engaging narratives with a touch of cultural insight. Mwapasa's writing often explores themes of family, tradition, and personal growth.

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