This year’s African Writers Trust’s biennial conference was held in Kampala on May 25-27 under the theme: The Right to Write in a Global Context. The event also doubled up the Fourth Edition of the Uganda International Writers Conference.
It attracted writers, poets, bloggers, playwrights, publishing professionals, critics, academics, journalists and books enthusiasts from Africa and its diaspora.
US professor and author Sandra Adell was the guest speaker and she shared her experience during the session Writing Our Stories: Memoir Writing and Self-Care.
Adell discussed memoir writing and the importance of self-care, especially when the motivation for writing is a traumatic event or series of traumatic events.
Among the issues Adell addressed is the writing process: How to begin to write; the importance of keeping a journal or oral recordings of thoughts, memories and reflections; and how to take care of ourselves as memories that have long been buried in our subconscious, often because they are too painful to face, begin to surface through the processes of recall and recollection.
The conference was divided into panel discussions, conversations, poetry performances and readings, among other literary activities.
Ugandan journalist and Masters student in Creative Writing at the University of Oxford in the UK Jemimah Lulu said: “We seek so much validation on social media and the expectations are so high such that when one isn’t validated he or she loses interest in writing altogether.”
Ugandan writer and poet Harriet Anena extolled the virtues of editors. “You need an editor to edit your work doesn’t matter whether it will be self-published. You need a second eye to your work to look at make it presentable.