Prof. Munthali named head judge for Dede Kamkondo Poetry contest

Professor Felix Munthali – Malawi’s internationally renowned poet and distinguished academician – has been named chair of the judges for the first ever Dede Kamkondo Poetry Contest, the Wisdom Dede Kamkondo Foundation has announced.

The contest – which was open for entries from 1st to 31st October, 2013 – called for poems from youthful Malawian poets below the age of 35 to submit their poems on any theme for cash prizes.

The best poem will get $100, the second and third best will get 30 and 20 dollars respectively.

Speaking in an interview with Nyasa Times, one of the organizers of the contest Towera Kamkondo – daughter to fallen Malawi literary great Dede Kamkondo and founder of Malawi Heat (www.malawiheat.com), an online magazine about arts and entertainment – said she was proud to have come up with the idea of the contest.

Towera- I’m proud.

“I’m so proud of myself for organizing the contest,” said Kamkondo.

She added: “It is a way to keep my dad’s legacy because this is what he wanted to do for Malawi writers – to give them a chance to get their voices heard.

“I know there are plenty of talented Malawian writers out there and I’m hoping that malawiheat.com will continue to be a platform for such talents.”

Kamkondo said that the contest is the beginning of more contests which are going to be organized for all talented young Malawian artists.

She emphasized that Malawi Heat is a platform for all talented Malawian artists across the world from writers to singers, models to fashion designers.

“We showcase your talent on our website,” she said.

She added: “We also provide information on entertainment, fashion, health & beauty, news and events.”

Pius Nyondo, publicist and overseer of the award, said 38 entries were received by 12 midnight on 31st October, 2013.

Apart from Professor Munthali – formerly a Professor of English at the University of Botswana but now retired – Malawi’s celebrated poet and two times nominee for the Caine Prize Stanley Kenani plus Shadreck Chikoti – poet and 2013 Peer Gynt Literary Award winner – will also constitute the judging panel.

“We’ve received poems from various sections of Malawian youth – from students to those who are working,” said Nyondo.

Nyondo added that Temwani Mgunda, arts and entertainment and the Blantyre Newspapers Limited, Ndongolera Mwangupili, internationally published Malawian poet and Mtungambera Harawa, literary critic and lecturer in the department of languages and literature at Mzuzu University will shortlist the best ten poems for final judgment.

“Much as the prize money is little, this will be one of the most respected literary contests in the country considering the nature of the judges,” added Nyondo.

According to Nyondo, the prize winners will be announced three weeks from the deadline – 31ts October, 2013.

A glamorous, multi-award winning writer, Dr. Wisdom Kamkondo was one of the most prolific Malawian writers of his time – commonly known by his pen name Dede.

He is best remembered for his poetry, short stories, novels, plays and children’s books. His novels such as Children of the LakeTruth Will Out and For the Living continue to be read all over the world and can be found in U.S libraries, local bookshops and at the Michigan State University where he went in 1995 to pursue his doctoral studies.

Wisdom died peacefully around midnight on the 12th of March, 2006.

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