Malawi Writers Group
Scope and Contents
- - 'The rain-maker', by Steve Chimombo - a play
- - 'African literature in English and the Malawi cultural background' by Steve Chimombo, 22 December 1974
- - 'The Muse', Thursday 13 November 1975, edited by Ken Lipenga - the bulletin of the Writers Workshop
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/75/744. Short story and poems, including 'Another village requiem: Malawi' by Jack Mapanje, and 'Chisumphi sighed' by Steve Chimombo
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/75/816. Short story and poems
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/75/846. Short story and poems, including 'The hunted' by Swanzie Agnew
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/76/881. Short story and poems, including 'The hounds' by Jack Mapanje
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/76/897. Short stories and poems.
- - circular of the Writers' Group CC/Eng/76/903. Poems.
The collection also includes a copy of an off-print, containing 'Three poems of Africa', from the University of Victoria'sMalahat review, No. 36. October 1975 (Canada). The poets are Stan Trevor, Steve Chimombo, and Linda Sandler. The Steve Chimombo work in the off-print isNapolo.
There is also a copy ofA candle in the nightwhich sets down the context, aims and work of the South African Committee for Higher Education (SACHED), and which is published by the International Student Conference (ISC) and the World University Service (WUS).
Several Writers' Group items in the collection have the name 'Professor Agnew' noted in ink, and the off-print of theMalahat reviewhas the name 'Swanzie' noted in ink. Swanzie, Lady Agnew of Lochnaw (1916-2000), born in Heidelberg in the Transvaal, had been Professor of Geography at the University of Malawi. 'Swanzie' means 'little swan' in Dutch/Afrikaans.
Language of Materials
Biographical / Historical
Another early writer at Chancellor College was the poet Jack Mapanje (b. 1944) who had grown up in the newly independent Malawi under the dictatorship of Dr. Hastings Banda. He was a founding member of the Malawi Writers' Group (or Writers Workshop) which was formed in April 1970 in a deliberate attempt to build a Malawian written literature. The Group met weekly at the College and provided its members with a sympathetic audience for their own poems and stories. Through the groups’ gatherings they succeeded in avoiding the control of the official government censor. Though the Group was confined to Chancellor College, it attracted contributions from journalists, teachers and businessmen. The Group became the only forum in which Malawian affairs were freely discussed.
Mapanje became a Lecturer in English at the College in 1975, and he published his first collection of poems in London in 1981 -Of chameleons and gods. In 1987, by which time he had become Head of the Department of English, he was detained by police acting for Malawi Special Branch and remained in detention at Mikuyu Maximum Security Detention Centre for three and half years without trial. His poems inThe Chattering Wagtails of Mikuyu Prison(1993) were composed while he was imprisoned, as well as most of his third collection of poetry,Skipping without Ropes(1998). More recently he taught a degree course at the University of Leeds, 1993-96, in England, and has been teaching as a Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Newcastle also in England.
- Agnew, Lady Agnew, Swanzie, 1916-2000 (Professor of Geography (University of Malawi))
- Chimombo, Professor, Steve Bernard Miles, b. 1945 (Poet: Writer; Journalist; Essayist; Publisher)
- Malawi Writers' Group (Chancellor College, University of Malawi)
- Malawi literature (English)
- Mapanje, Jack, b. 1944, Poet; Lecturer
- Literature of the Writers' Group, Chancellor College, University of Malawi - 1970s
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