"How do I translate the nebulous energy of ideas into language, words, in order to convey an image?" asks Patricia Crain in her meditation on the art (and discipline) of writing.
It's a problem faced by all writers, and it is tackled - more or less directly - in Tyhini, a collection of writing produced by students of the Rhodes University MA in creative writing course.
The annual magazine (you pronounce it 'Tshee-ni') is filled with short stories, personal meditations and essays, poetry and excerpts from debut novels and seasoned works. A handful of Eastern Cape-based contributors took some time to celebrate its 2013 incarnation with a launch at Red Cafe on Sunday 17 November.
In English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa, 22 writers tease out the complexities of life in all its kaleidoscopic facets. Love, betrayal, family, literature, politics, violence, history and sex.
PE-based Fundile Majola delighted the audience with his reading of an impromptu piece he had written that afternoon which sees his main character, Skhumba, locked in the toilet of Makhaya's Tavern in Joza.
Anirood Singh takes us on a dark, gritty adventure with Rohit Biswas, Licensed Private Detective in 1960s Durban.
Mishka Hoosen, who read three short excerpts at the launch, was a firm crowd favourite.
Her contributions to Tyhini include fascinating and harrowing meditations on mental illness, "jaywalking the border between poetry and prose", had the audience riveted.
Like Crain, Hoosen also spends some time thinking about the art of writing, its purposes, and its crucial role in the lives of those marked out for it.
Time spent reflecting on the craft during the one-year (full-time) or two-year (part-time) MA course is manifest in many of the other pieces.
In 'Writer's block', Johannesburg-based Pitso Tsibolane turns his bittersweet experiences over in his mind, looking for ways to write about them.
As an Afrikaner, I was tantalised by Gideon Strydom's series of short novella excerpts in which he weaves a compelling story of existential frustration and the painful but necessary role of writing in alleviating it - or at least expressing it.
The MA in Creative Writing course is offered at the Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA).
The teachers, who are all practising writers, are Joan Metelerkamp, Mxolisi Nyezwa, Brian Walter, Paul Wessels, Joanne Hichens, Anton Krueger, Ingrid Winterbach, Rian Malan, Godfrey Meintjes, Russell Kaschula, Hazel Crampton, Paul Mason, Eben Venter and Robert Berold.
After 16 weeks of coursework taught by a different writing teacher each week, students are assigned a supervisor from one of the 14 teachers. Then they begin work on their extended thesis – a book-length creative work.
Tyhini will soon be available at Van Schaik's bookstore in Grahamstown.
For more info call ISEA at 046 603 8565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Kayla Roux
Photo: Klaudija Antolic
Source: Grocott’s MailSource: Grocott's Mail
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