Saturday, August 1st
The second African Women Writers Workshop got off to a great start. It’s been exciting to meet the amazing women who have come to learn and share about writing on Social Justice.
Monday 27th July: The week began at the Speke Hotel Uganda, located in lush gardens on the bank of Lake Victoria. The serenity and beauty of our surroundings are just the perfect environment to stimulate creative juices.
After the first two days the participants quickly became a tight knit sisterhood. Our 22 talented women come from Morocco to Madagascar. Their selection followed a competitive process from over 200 applications that focused on their creativity and conviction in writing and storytelling.
This year’s group is being taken through a demanding schedule by award-winning writer Yewande Omotoso and veteran writer/filmmaker extraordinaire Sylvia Vollenhoven, our lead facilitators. The full-day programme involves role play, interviews, timed writing exercises and plenty of hands-on coaching.
Fast forward to Friday 31 July: The workshop participants joined in a public dialogue on African Women and Public Policy examining the status of African women in decision making spaces. The night was a success, drawing attendees from the public, Uganda’s literary world and activists.
We say a big thank you to our panelists, AWDF CEO Theo Sowa, Vollenhoven, Omotoso and workshop participant Zeyana Abdullah who joined Prof. Tabitha Mulyampiti of Makaere University.
We are also grateful to The Ugandan Women Writers Association FEMRITE, with whom we are co-hosting the workshop for a second time, for their support and warm welcome.
For the next 4 days we will be taken through the acclaimed MOTH Storytelling workshop conducted by Sarah Jenesse, Catherine Burns and Dawn Fraser.
Here’s some or feedback from #AWW15 on the first six days
Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Nigeria:
The week has been very intense very challenging as regards cultivating creativity…putting us on the spot…the arguments and different perspectives have been very interesting. It’s a fact that we are not just participants, but we have become sisters. The facilitators have been great. I have learned about structure and in the Op-ed session I learned about counter-arguments.
That’s my week – intense. And the food at Speke is really good. Thank you AWDF
Ruth Adong (Uganda) :
The Op-Ed session has been the best thing that has happened to my writing. I “rant” a lot, but the session gave me a way to structure my ranting…gave me a way to rant with opinion. I loved the aspect of breaking into groups and bouncing ideas off each other. It really helped me to get arguments right.
The timed writing exercises have put me on the spot, but forced me outside my comfort zone.
Today has been really good. When Sylvia and Yewande were reading their work I could see that they practice what they preach. They have been very friendly, yet they push us. They have been very generous with their knowledge. My writing has improved already.
Theo really put things into perspective with her talk. She was very inspirational. Made me see the purpose of my writing.
Merna Thomas (Egypt) :
Obviously we are doing a lot of work. I was worried that it would be a waste of time. For me it’s the psychology of writing that has been the biggest benefit. I feel the burden of the facilitators – 22 of us. But they are very amazing, very generous.
The week was relevant. I saw an evolution in my writing. I learned my weaknesses and strengths. The facilitators make us know we are getting hands-on information from experts. It’s been challenging and it’s been entertaining. I’ve enjoyed the moments together with new friends.