A highly anticipated book of written works by women from Botswana is on the cards, and is expected to be published soon. The book, titled ‘Women Writing Botswana’, features both upcoming and established writers, and is a collection of non fiction and fiction works which have been gathered over the past years, says co-editor and facilitator of the project Mary Lederer.
“This book was inspired by the first volume of the series Women Writing Africa, published by the Feminist Press in New York. The Southern African volume of that series came out in 2003, and that is just about the time that more and more writing by Batswana women started to appear. We decided that it might be useful to do something focused on Botswana, since there was new material coming out what seemed like every day. What we want to do is give women writers in Botswana a platform for their work. This is the first anthology of its kind in Botswana, and one of the few in the region.” Lederer adds that the anthology also includes Professor Maitseo Bolane, Dr. Leloba Molema and Dr. Connie Rapoo as editors.
As far as genres, themes and what the content explores, Lederer says the 400-500 page collection confronts various topics from love to domestic violence: “It has a fiction and non-fiction section, so there are novels, stories, poems, plays as well as court statements, letters, journalism, speeches, and interviews. We wanted to give as much as possible a broad view of women’s lives and concerns in Botswana. Most of the material is post 2000, since that is when literature of all types really started to appear here. We have looked so broadly for genre and themes are also very wide-ranging. The publication basically includes things that women consider important in their lives such as work, creative expression, motherhood, domestic violence, love, sexuality, spiritual life and various others.”
The project received a grant earlier this year from CIPA, and the writers will be gathering on August 26 for an official signing event. “We are excited to have completed the project, having involved many writers from different backgrounds,” enthused Lederer.