Had a fabulous time at Casa Keza last night.
My friend Maia has turned her house into a local night school and I've started teaching fiction. It was a real honour to be the first course to run at the venue. The start date was delayed by a week whilst Maia and her team ran about like mad things getting everything prepared, and the classroom had that freshly painted smell. They were nailing mosquito netting to the windows minutes before the first student turned up.
It's the first time I've run a writing course. The reason for starting one is that writers are hard to come by in Rwanda. There's the Spoken Word event, Huza Press and Imagine We, but when you speak with publishers they say they find it hard to source material. Most of the international books by Rwandans in English are memoirs or in some way factually based. I want to help kick-start a fiction revolution. Find the next Chimamanda Adichie or Nii Parkes.
I wrote my first ever novel, Lucid, in Rwanda back in 2008. I was a VSO volunteer, helping with the research and publication of the Dictionary of Rwandan Sign Language. Most of Angorichina and Rosy Hours were also completed here. Rwanda has been a very productive place for me writing-wise, and I see this as my chance to give something back.
It was certainly a dramatic start to the course. Minutes before we were due to begin, a tropical storm passed over. Water was pouring through the closed windows and we were mopping it off the floor. Even for the wet season it was unusually severe. Felt like I was in the set up for an Agatha Christie. At any moment I thought we might have a power out and my students would start to disappear one by one.
Thankfully it passed quickly and all my students remained.
A really lovely group, and positive feedback on the first session. Very much looking forward to seeing them all next week and reading their work.
If you're interested in joining the next course, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also check out Creative Kigali and join the Facebook group, where I hope to connect writers across the country.