Malawi women urged to up creative writing endeavours

Renowned writer, poet and academic Professor Felix Mnthali has called on young women to up their endeavours in creative writing exploits, saying Malawi’s present day literature lacks a female voice.

Mnthali, a retired professor of English formerly with the University of Botswana – where he was head of the English department for 28 years, said “writing is for everyone, not just women.”

He spoke during a Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Mzuzu Live panel discussion on The State of Creative Writing in Malawi aired Tuesday and hosted by veteran journalist Harnet Msukwa.

Mthali: Women whould write
Mthali: Women whould write

Other panellists included Joshua Kumwenda, a literary critic and head of the department of languages and literature at Mzuzu University (Mzuni); Mtungambera Harawa, lecturer in the department of languages and literature at Mzuni and Pius Nyondo, a poet, short story writer and national coordinator of the Budding Writers’ Desk in Malawi Writers Union (Mawu).

“Women must write about issues that affect them because men can’t do that for them precisely. Malawi needs more prolific writers to take after Walije Gondwe and others,” said Mnthali.

He cited an example of Nigeria’s Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, author of Half of a Yellow Sun and Americanah of one of Africa’s writers making it big despite being women.

Mnthali observed that the lack of a vibrant reading culture in the country is also fuelling the deplorable state of creative writing in the country.

“It is a pity that our young people, including women, prefer watching movies to reading books,” he said.

The author of When Sunset Comes to Sapitwa and his yet to be published memoir A Time to Remember urged on the government to make books available for Malawi’s youth to read.

“Government must find a way in which it can make books available and cheaper for ordinary Malawians,” he opined.


In his remarks, Nyondo corroborated with Mnthali’s sentiments saying there is no motivation among young people as far as creative writing is concerned.


“The corporate world must come in and help out with writing competitions to motivate young writers. The corporate world must not only sponsor sporting activities,” added Nyondo.

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