As of this date, in this current residence, I have so far featured in five literary events. I have read twice at the Uppsala Library, I have held a talk at
Stockholm University, another one at the City Theater in Uppsala, and then another talk and reading in . Berlin, Germany
At the end of May I am attending book events in
Norway and , all part of my fellowship in the Nordic Countries, where I hope to promote my work and also myself as a writer. I will write about those events when I am from there. Finland
I have written much about
Uppsala City in my Sunday News column, the city where I have my base in Sweden, but for this post I will write about my reading in . Berlin
I read there on the 10th of May, at the Literature House, where I read from my novel in progress, which is still untitled. The reading room was packed, and some of the audience had to stand. I read for a record 15 minutes to an enthralled audience from one text, and then also read two poems, and another excerpt from my other unpublished novel which I completed last year in the USA and titled AUTUMN LEAVES, from which I read just one page. And then after the readings came question time, which all went well.
I must also add that in the past two years I have been reading on international platforms, I have learnt one crucial thing. It is important to rehearse your text before you go for the reading so that you get used to the words in it and also the emotions. You can also be able to plan how you can pace yourself. There is nothing as embarrassing as stammering during a reading. And the audiences also expect some professionalism, audiences regard a public reading as an act – the writer assumes the role of an actor, and they expect to enjoy the listening, just as we enjoy listening to a good storyteller.
It is always disappointing to see the tiny audiences that come to readings in
. And so now how can we cultivate our own people to appreciate book readings? That is the big challenge that festivals like Intwasa are there to address. Zimbabwe
And lastly bantu bakithi, please do not embarrass me – if I can draw a full house at a reading in Germany, thousands of miles away from home, then I must draw more in Bulawayo. Don’t make me read to empty venues.
Mlalazi will be reading from his collection of stories and presenting his Visualizing Bulawayo project at Intwasa 2011. Make a date with him