There is no shortage of people to teach you how to write, who want to teach you how to write - a WikiHow article, your primary school teacher, a dying writer anxious about their legacy, a fancy MA Creative Writing degree and Life, itself to name a few. And yet there isn’t the same collective desire to raise an editor, to give birth to the word-hacker, the invisible friend (or foe, depending), the red pen girdle of literary talent. After all, their name doesn’t even appear on the cover. Maybe in the acknowledgments, if the author knows who they are, the person who knows their book as well as they do and helps their vision become best realised.
So considering this gap, Short Story Day Africa with the help of Worldreader decided to step in. We’re doing something quite different this year so that there are not only African writers for generations to come but African editors to help them along too. People who understand the cultural touchstones of the writers, their audience and can untangle a mess of adjectival clauses to boot.
Migrations entries will be polished by not one editor but to a trio of them: Helen Moffett, Bongani Kona and Efemia Chela. Helen will serve as a mentor to Efemia and Bongani. SSDA's intern, Catherine Shepherd, will also participate in the mentorship, editing a chapbook of children's stories under the guidance of Karina Szczurek. The paid mentorship will run from September to November and tackle technical editing issues from structural and developmental editing to line editing. The mentorship is designed to transfer skills to those who wish to be career editors.
Worldreader is the perfect partner for the Editing Mentorship. Way back in 2013, they provided the seed funding to edit the very first Short Story Day Africa anthology Feast, Famine & Potluck, and they have done so every year since. In addition, they have published our stories on Worldreader Mobile to more than half a million readers across the globe. Join Worldreader Mobile for a library in your pocket.
Now for more about the team.
Helen Moffett is a writer, freelance editor, feminist activist and recovering academic. She’s compiled three editions of a poetry anthology as well as a guide to academic English for Southern African students, and a collection of South African landscape writings, Lovely Beyond Any Singing. She has toured Canada with her debut collection of poems, Strange Fruit, published by Modjaji Books. Her collaborations include a cricket book and the Girl Walks In erotica series with Sarah Lotz and Paige Nick under the nom de plume Helena S. Paige. Her extensive academic work is published locally and abroad, and she also writes for the Mail & Guardian. She is one of the most experienced editors in anglophone Africa, with a special interest in development editing and the training of young editors, writers, journalists and researchers. She blogs at http://helenmoffett.bookslive.co.za/.
Bongani Kona is a freelance writer and contributing editor of Chimurenga. His work has appeared in Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Rolling Stone (South Africa), and other publications and websites. He is also studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Cape Town.
Efemia Chela was born in Zambia in 1991. She studied at Rhodes University and Institut D'Etudes Politiques in Aix-En-Provence, France. Her first published story ‘Chicken’ was nominated for The 2014 Caine Prize For African Writing and her subsequent work has appeared in places like Prufrock, and PEN Passages. She continues to write stories whenever she can find a working pen.
Karina Szczurek is the author of Truer than Fiction: Nadine Gordimer Writing Post-Apartheid South Africa and the editor of Touch: Stories of Contact, Encounters with André Brink, Contrary: Critical Responses to the Novels of André Brink (with Willie Burger), and Water, New Short Fiction From Africa (with Nick Mulgrew). Her debut Novel, Invisible Others, was published in 2014.
Although Catherine Shepherd started writing as a child, it was only recently through projects like Short Story Day Africa and Writivism that she got the courage to put her writing out there. Her short stories have appeared in Holiday Shorts, published by Black Letter Media, Imagine Africa 500 and the 2016 Writivism Anthology. Catherine has a degree in journalism from Rhodes University. She currently lives in Cape Town, but has plans to build a writer's retreat in Suurbraak.
They can’t wait to meet your words!
Special thanks to Worldreader for sponsoring the paid mentorship.