University don and prolific author Professor Egara Kabaji has advised literature and journalism lecturers to frequently write articles in diverse areas of specialization to inspire their students to become good writers.
Kabaji expressed concern over the quality of teaching of lecturers without frequent evidence of contributions in the field.
He revealed that he has more than four decades experience in writing and is an expert in children’s literature books having already penned 30 such books, a number of plays and numerous articles in journals.
Through the Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), Prof. Kabaji has been campaigning for wide involvement of Kenyans in writing through coordination of various programmes where articles, poems and other genres of writing are published.
He disclosed that a huge number of manuscripts are already with various publishers and could be published before the end of the year, a move that will see new names come into the scene of literature publishing world.
He argues that as a gatekeeper of standards, he can’t allow a lecturer who teaches feature and opinion writing but doesn’t have any written articles on the same near his students.
“Allowing such tutors to lecture in our literature departments would be suicidal,” he said.
He urged literature departments in local universities to create writing internships to nurture creative writing among the students.
He also stressed on the need for close and frequent interaction between writers in various genres.
The don lamented that wordlessness and noiselessness in the world of written word from University of Nairobi, MMUST and Moi university literature lecturers has been of great concern to veterans in the field.
He is not alone in this. One of the leading writers in local and international media also expressed concern over why the dons are quiet.
He expressed apprehension over dominance by only a few writers.
In one interesting piece, respected contributor Ouma Otieno lamented as to why only a few robust literally voices were being heard in the media outlets yet there are so many ‘vibrant’ literature departments.
In his response, Prof Kabaji declared that writing had been killed at various universities because those teaching writing did not practice what they taught.
The current absence of a trend where authors and their students are placed inside comfortable and ambient spaces to interact through writing clinics is perhaps to blame for the chameleon pace production of reading materials from literature writing incubators.
“Lack of such forums had led to reduced interest in creative writing with prospective young authors pursuing the bank cheque more than the gusto to sharpen their writing skills,” he explained.
He urged aspiring authors to be patient and to write on daily basis, without high expectations that their first drafts will successfully attract a publisher.
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