Somewhere in this Country: Short Stories
A collection of short stories by a Zimbabwean author. Stories cover a range of contemporary issues affecting the lives of Zimbabweans, and which speak to the heart of a society searching for something, weaving an intriguing landscape of evokative tales.
What people are saying - Write a review
Monday, November 1, 2010
‘The short story pricks like the doctor’s needle’
On 25 October 2010,'The Herald' of Zimbabwe published a piece in which Edmore Zvinonzwa interviews me. Some of you said you could not get to it on The Herald site. Here it is:
Zimbabwean author Memory Chirere enjoys reading and writing short stories and some of these are published in No More Plastic Balls (1999), A Roof to Repair (2000), Writing Still (2003) and Creatures Great and Small (2005).
He has also published short story books: Somewhere in This Country (2006), Tudikidiki (2007); Toriro, his Goats and Other Stories (2010) and together with Maurice Vambe, compiled and edited a critical text on Mungoshi, Charles Mungoshi: A Critical Reader.
Chirere has poems published in Tipeiwo Dariro (1994).
Beyond his creative work, Chirere has compiled and edited various other short story books; Totanga Patsva (an all-women short story book), Children Writing Zimbabwe (a book of short stories for children by children).
Alongside Ignatius Mabasa and Christopher Mlalazi, Chirere is one of the more visible young writers writing from within Zimbabwe today.
He has won various national literary prizes.
Memory Chirere writes with a certain playfulness and sense of mischief and employs satiric humour. The titles of his stories, Three Little Worlds, Jazz, Beautiful Children and Sixteen are enigmatic and enticing. In this interview with our writer, EDMORE ZVINONZWA (EZ), CHIRERE (MC) speaks about Zimbabwean writing in general as well as his own works in particular.
EZ: Would you like to briefly tell readers about yourself and how you evolved into the creative writer that you are today?
MC: It is difficult to tell. I know that I enjoy reading and writing.
EZ: Who and what would you consider as the biggest influences to your writing? Maybe there were different influences for each distinct work?
MC: There is the Mozambican short story writer, Luis Bernardo Honwana. I keep going back to his smallish collection of short stories, "We Killed Mangy Dog". I also keep going back to Charles Mungoshi’s book, Coming of The Dry Season. I also cannot avoid Luanda by Viera of Angola. I have come across many better and bigger books but those three are important to me.
EZ: Having been a student of literature in secondary school (I guess I am right) and at the University of Zimbabwe, that meant you had to read. Did you like reading before university or you became a reader then out of necessity.
MC: It all went on and still goes on, side by side, reading and writing.
EZ: In an interview with Ignatius Mabasa sometime, he mentioned you, the late Ruzvidzo Mupfudza, Eresina Hwede, Zvisinei Sandi, Emmanuel Sigauke and Nhamo Mhiripiri as some of his contemporaries. How exactly did this partnership impact on your development as a creative writer?
MC: It was the best of times under the tutelage of very able people, the likes of T. K. Tsodzo, Rino Zhuwarara, Chenjerai Hove, Musaemura Zimuya and others. We had the opportunity to read literature in the context of a very wide variety of ideas and theories. We have grown into many different directions but I think we still dialogue through what we write.
EZ: What would you finger as the major challenges to you as a writer?
MC: I believe people should be allowed to write what they like. And conversely, the writers should allow people to say what they like about what they write. I do not think we have struck that balance.
EZ. Zimbabwe’s literary landscape in general? Have Zimbabwean writers been able to tell the Zimbabwean story to the world?
MC: There is a lot of good writing going on inside and outside of Zimbabwe by Zimbabweans. Ignatius Mabasa is intriguing. You think you have got the best from him but he comes back the following day, like a furious in-law, with even better work. With his latest novel, Ndafa Here? he has outdone even the feminist writers. Wonder Guchu’s stories are amazingly simple that you realise they were not simply written