Publishing in Uganda
Profile photo of Joel Benjamin Ntwatwa

We have been talking about how to write, in terms of inspiration and craft however it seems many of us know the general process of getting one’s work published which a few of us do not. I do not mean publishing on own blogs rather publishing to a form that can be bought in a bookstore.

Here’s a few things I learned from an editing workshop that was held by Nyana Kakoma and Glaydah Namukasa a few weeks ago at FEMRITE.

Publishers usually have a kind of writing they publish and will periodically make calls for submissions on that theme. Some make calls once a year, twice a year as their plan dictates.

Some publishers will not restrict their calls for manuscripts on theme. Therefore it is helpful to know what kind of books they publish to increase your chances of being published. This is especially important when publishers do not make calls, when you’re approaching them outside their publishing plan.

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  1. Profile photo of Kitooke Amoni
    Kitooke Amoni 28. January 2015 Reply

    Thank you very much, Joel, for the guiding submission. It lights a path for writers who otherwise would be lost at what to do with their manuscripts, or worse still would be reluctant to write because all they know would not include the aftermath of their personal effort. The description of the other players places a good go-ahead for them. I pray your submission impacts on others as it does on me. Be blessed.

  2. Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
    Crystal Rutangye 28. January 2015 Reply

    There are new companies emerging Joel, that have alternative publishing business models to the traditional model described above. Look at the website for Unbound ( They have a smart way of securing an author’s market before they publish the book. Here is how it works: . This way, authors with great work who get rejected by the ‘traditional’ companies may still find a quicker way to success. In Uganda, an author should look up different publishing companies and find one with a model that suits their type of work.

  3. For a minute there, I thought you would list the available publishers. Where can one find such a resource?”Reference

  4. Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the good works guys I’ve added you guys to my personal blogroll.

  5. How can I get access to english litterature works that were translatted into luganda, I need this

  6. Eriab Thembo 5. March 2016 Reply

    I need someone to market my book of english language for secondary schools. My name is Eriab Thembo, and I have been a teacher of english language in Uganda for ten years. I have also been an examiner at National Level. My contact is: 0777292443. Thanks!

  7. JOB LAZARUS OKELLO 30. July 2016 Reply

    A great post there Joel!. I am a young writer, looking forward to having my first book published. However, am not well informed about the different publishing companies in Uganda and their terms. How do I get in touch with them?.

  8. Hello an 8 year old orhpan is seeking to want his mind literacy book titled “Joels Wardrobe” and other simple series of titles. would someone help please

  9. constantly i used to read smaller content that also clear their motive,
    and that is also happening with this bit of writing that
    i am reading at the place.

  10. KADDU ALEX REALMS 25. October 2017 Reply


  11. Evas Nduhukire 25. June 2021 Reply

    Hello am Evas, am interested in writing a book to encourage people in Uganda settle in their homes with the children, husband’s and wives.
    I want the book to be out by October 2021. How can I be helped?

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Poetry and my writing club
Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
Profile photo of Jens Laloire

Dear Jens,

I did not understand a word Lars said but he seems very passionate and his delivery is good. I have been to a couple of poetry slams in Kampala by Open Mic Kampala and Poetry In Session and quite often I am inspired by both the poems and the delivery. Sometimes it is just pure entertainment and other times very thought—provoking.

There is actually an upcoming poetry reading the day before Valentine’s Day. It’s being organised by Babishai Niwe Poetry Award. Basically poets have been invited to write poems on love, romance and they will read them that evening. I am really looking forward to that.


We do not have slam competitions though. None that I know of anyway. In the competition, what criteria do they use to determine the winner? The content or the performance? Because a lot of writers cannot perform their own work so I am curious to know how that works.

Thanks for sharing your experience on the creative writing workshop. Thankfully, I will be facilitating with someone else so I am going to concentrate on the things I am good at and share those. I will tell you all about it. I worked as a Sub-Editor for a newspaper and later as Magazine Editor but my work with Sooo Many Stories has given me an opportunity to work as a fiction editor. I am learning so much and teaching myself quite a lot.

Before I go into the Kampala writing scene I thought I should tell you about my writing club that has helped my growth as a writer this past year. Also because in your last post, you mentioned that you would love to be a part of a writers’ club such as Femrite’s. You can start with a small group like my writing club.

In 2012 I was selected for the Caine Prize workshop that was held in Uganda for the first time. I found myself in the company of Harriet Anena, Davina Kawuma and Lillian A Aujo. I had seen them before (the writing scene in Kampala is quite small and you  end up bumping into the same people) but we were not that close. Garuga, where the workshop was held, brought us closer and we began with just talking about books and commenting on different conversations about writing.

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  1. Great. Nothing as important as finding a group of friends with whom you can be honest with while strengthening each other. Smaller communities or writer groups are very effective. I know that particular group is going to make #256, #Africa shine, yet again. For people who travel a lot, continue mentoring online, though it’s hard. There’s something about physical closeness that brings spontaneity. The closest poetry like slam competition we had was in 2013 when Rehema Nanfuka won, the spoken word Africa competition.

  2. Wow. I am envious. I am not in any. Do you think there are people out there willing to form one?

  3. Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
    Crystal Rutangye 13. January 2015 Reply

    That’s a great question, about they determine to win in slam poetry competitions; content or performance? I would like to have an answer to that! This is a great piece. Beautifully demonstrating all the hard work that goes into becoming a great writer. Many people don’t know about the nitty-gritties that lead to the glam.

  4. Crystal, that particular competition had particular guidelines like sending a video and poem submission before and then the presentation. Rehema had obviously rehearsed like crazy, before. she was confident, sure of her lines, articulated her poem, wow! Slam- I’m interested. Like Mos Def?

    • Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
      Crystal Rutangye 13. January 2015 Reply

      That’s fair I guess Nambozo. When you are judging then, it has to be a combination of both? They way they ‘slam’ the lines they forwarded to you earlier? I can’t understand why I missed that competition.

  5. Profile photo of Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
    Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva 13. January 2015 Reply

    After going to school to study writing, I wonder how people can write without rigororus mentorship or study? How? Without constant feedback, reading and so on. As Nyana said, Kampala’s writing space is small which is why we are hosting many Kenyans and launching their novels these days. We’re committed and generous. Crystal and Joel, there used to be a Kampala writers group. Try, they have a writing festival in Kampala this year.

    • Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
      Crystal Rutangye 13. January 2015 Reply


    • Bev, writing as a direction has always been daunting for a regular person. The question is always, how will the shilling come in? So unless pure passion drives you (like you) to study writing and learn its intimacies, what a person is left with is pouring out and not necessarily going the whole nine yards of the art. I think many people have that weakness in Uganda.

      I ask Jason how he is so eloquent, he talks about practice and feedback. Most of us do not give ourselves to our work like you’re intimating because of the issue above.

      I guess one has to decide they are not haphazard poets and can go all the way into the ecstasies.

  6. Profile photo of Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
    Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva 13. January 2015 Reply

    Joel, very true. Every stage in our life leads to difficult questions. Jason and others decided that they would become strict and professional with their art, Solomon Jaggwe, Makumbi and many we know of. We all dabble art with other professions and passions. The thing that drives us crazy the most, that makes us do the most ridiculous, take the most risks, invest the most time and resources will always yield the most results and direct our overall direction in life. It’s a fact for every career decision we make. Many great writers still lead full 8am to 5pm lives and others have chosen to be writers from one dawn to another, staring at pages, at deadlines, at screens and typing for all its worth. These stages vary though and we’re all in states of fluidity as we determine on any day who we’ll be, writer, actor, poet, performer and how much of those 24 hours we’ll spend doing that. I think it’s good to curate various skills. If a poet, become an editor, a publisher, a performer, a teacher and so on. Grow! #thesepostsneedawordlimit

  7. Where have I been?
    I never thought of such writing clubs, with membership that small. But looking at how far Nyana and your groupies have gone, I need one.

    So Joel and Crystal, can we form a writing club?

  8. shabuni nandi john 20. January 2015 Reply

    burning to join one poetry and where…yet know not…so if u feel as i do…contact me

    • What are the details of your group? When do you meet? Where? Criteria to join and so on…

  9. OKEMWA IMMACULATE GESARE 15. September 2015 Reply

    Marvellous ,I love your group.How can I join you.I im an award winning poet

  10. how do i join?

  11. How do I join

  12. That is quite awesome. check my blog for my writings too. Be blessed

  13. Jamie Bukenya 18. August 2019 Reply

    Hy am jamilah i have written a number of poems but they are just in my notebook and pc i wish they can be heard hopeful they can inspire others in anyway
    I don’t have any means and am not in any group
    Am a good performer too
    I wish to be heard
    Thank you

  14. Lubega Stephen 5. January 2021 Reply

    I want to join the club, help me to find a place were I can put my works.
    I just want to start my career of writing thank you

  15. kageha faith agesa 23. March 2021 Reply

    how do i join and participate

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Talks on Writing Drama
Profile photo of Deborah Asiimwe
Profile photo of Nikolas Hoppe

For Talks on Writing Drama Deborah Asiimwe and Nikolas Hoppe have met in person. A camera team accompanied them on a walk through the city of Bremen. They visited the local theatre, ate sushi, and most importantly discussed the writing of dramatic texts.


  1. Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
    Crystal Rutangye 31. January 2015 Reply

    This was really awesome. I couldn’t help blabbering out loud my own opinions. It was like I was right there with you. I identified with quite everything you discussed; the colour all over in Uganda in contrast to the ‘dullness’ of the European cities, the amazing things the human brain can do (and remember), compressing language into words that won’t be wasted, the growing class structure in Kampala and the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, and most importantly, the difference between African fanta and German fanta!! I never used to drink fanta till UK; it tastes so different in Scotland! The way you two read out the script lines was amazing. Nikolas, I have been taught that at the beginnings of the publishing industry as we know it now, centuries ago, it was believed that everything that was written was inspired by God. That people could not write things that did not come from the heart of God. Seeing that the Bible was the first printed book (in Europe), lots of care was taken into selecting other ‘scripts’ for printing. Of course, a lot has changed now, and it was just interesting to hear how you have directed your faith to fiction. Indeed it takes faith to believe in yourself as a writer and make your characters believable.

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Lantern Meet’s What Shall We Name This Child: Behind The Scenes
Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
Profile photo of Jens Laloire

Dear Jens,

This must be a very interesting but intense week for because of the literature week. How was the reading on Saturday? How was it for you as a moderator? I hope it is a huge success. Can not wait to hear all about it.

Thank you so much for “taking me around” to the literature house, the Literaturkontor and the city library. It is now very apparent that Bremen has a huge respect for literature what with all these platforms for writers! It is really nice to see where you get to do what you truly love.

Have I told you about the Lantern Meet of Poets in Kampala? I think I mentioned them when I linked Peter Kagayi’s interview on Sooo Many Stories. Well, The Lantern Meet Of Poets has a recital starting tomorrow till Saturday.

I have attended their poetry recitals since their very first recital and I have always been curious about the process of putting together a recital. They allowed me to join them for one their rehearsals. We met in the Green Room at The National Theatre in the evening and the session began with one of the members asking how our day was. Patrick Massa, the Director/Producer of the recital walked in at around that time and asked the members to gather around for some games. All phones were to be in silent mode so as not to interrupt anything.

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  1. Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
    Tom Schroepfer 22. January 2015 Reply

    Did I get that right?:
    First, they write their poems, second, they train their general performance skills, third, they perform their poems in rehearsal conditions, fourth, they perform their poems in a recital(?).
    Do the poems change (substantially or in appearance) because of new insights/knowledge due to the rehearsals?
    Do new poems come to their minds/hands, because of acting with language and their body material? – and if so, do such poems differ from those, that were created on the desktop?

    • Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
      Nyana Kakoma 24. January 2015 Reply

      Hi Tom, yes you got all that right.

      The poems do not change but the performance/delivery does as the feedback comes in. Please note that the people who recite the poems are not (in most cases) the people who wrote the poems.

      • Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
        Tom Schroepfer 26. January 2015 Reply

        Ah, ok, I didn’t get that in the first moment.
        Nevertheless, I still wonder whether the experiences they made with the recital/ with performing (their) texts, are influencing the poems or (their) ways of creating poems – therefore I’m also very looking forward to your report.

  2. Profile photo of Jens Laloire
    Jens Laloire 23. January 2015 Reply

    Dear Nyana,

    Yes, I ‘ve had a few intense days with interesting readings and a lot of work. But, unfortunately I have been ill for the past couple of days, that´s the reason why I haven´t written anything (sorry about that). I will write more about the literature week and my experiences with moderation tomorrow, so that you get a little impression. Thank you so much for your post about “The Lantern Meet Of Poets“. I like how serious they prepare themselves for their recital. The games you described I know from improvisation theatre (I guess, Tom will know them, too), but I never used these ones for the preparation of a reading. I suppose many writers underestimate the importance of good preparation for a reading. I mean, you don’t have to be a good reader to be a good writer, but if you go out to present your own texts to an audience you should be prepared. That´s the reason why I love these sentences of your text:

    “Performing is about shared energy. The energy you give the audience is the same they will give back to you.“/ “Sometimes the audience is a mirror of your performance. Prepare well and package the performance well so they can feel the emotions you want to convey.“

    That is so true. I would like to attend a poetry recital of “The Lantern Meet Of Poets” and I´m curious to hear about your impressions. And like Tom, I wonder how big the difference between the rehearsal and the recital would be, how much it would change their performance or maybe even their poems.

    • Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
      Nyana Kakoma 24. January 2015 Reply

      Oh Jens! I am sorry you have been unwell. I hope you feel better pretty soon.

      I am very curious to see how different the recital is from what the rehearsal looked like. I’ll attend the show this evening and let you know how it goes!

      Feel better!

    • Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
      Tom Schroepfer 26. January 2015 Reply

      I agree with you and the quoted passages, but want to add and share an experience I had at the weekend:
      One of my best friends was celebrating a decadal birthday (friends, family, colleagues, etc., everyone there) and I wanted do a little performance/slam poetry at the champagne reception. I did some preparations similar to them you, Nyana, described, but actually I didn’t have to create an atmosphere, because of this very special situation, where everyone already is enriched with energy – I was thinking about the passages Jens quoted and suddenly felt like I was mirroring the audience and not the other way round. So they gave me emotions, that were appropriate for this moment.
      That is not to say, that it couldn’t work the other way round, no. I just wanted to say that I really loved this moment that accrued because of the discussion in this Blog and suddenly gave me a sense for the material of autopoietic-feedback-loops (my clumsy translation for a term I only know in german ‘autopoietische Feedback-Schleifen’ – anyone knowing a better translation?).

      • Profile photo of Jens Laloire
        Jens Laloire 26. January 2015 Reply

        That’s a good example. For sure you’re right, it´s more complex. I also remember performances, where I got a lot of energy from the audience (that’s great) – usually it’s a kind of interplay. But I also remember performances, where I started well prepared and full of enthusiasm, but the spark didn’t jump in the audience and there is nothing you can do about it (that´s horrible).

  3. Profile photo of Deborah Asiimwe
    Deborah Asiimwe 24. January 2015 Reply

    Hey Nyana,
    I can’t wait to hear how the Lantern Meet’s performances go. I had an awesome opportunity to work with them way back in 2010. They are super! Looking forward to hearing more.

  4. I hope it went well. Seeing this now and I remember how I had to learn acting drunk. Writing a poem is one thing and acting it is quite another moreso when you have to carry the emotion the writer intended. Or the mode of delivery that the audience will be able to easily receive it. That I have had the chance to do both, I’m grateful to the Lantern Meet of Poets.

  5. JeffreyFap 8. June 2019 Reply

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  6. KAGGWA JONES FRENCHMAN 25. June 2020 Reply

    Hello my name is Kaggwa Jones Frenchman.
    I have come across your club and i feel so proud to join if possible.
    Thank you for your time and resources.
    Cannt wait to hear from you!


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Give me coffee and I write…
Profile photo of Ssekandi Ronald Ssegujja
Profile photo of Nikolas Hoppe


Every day at 6 in the morning, my alarm goes off and before I head out of my bedroom, I do my “morning pages” This is a writing discipline that I learned from creative facilitator Ife Piankhi a few years back. I like morning pages because I basically have to write; write anything that comes to mind. However, it is surprising that my morning pages have given birth to some of the stories I later come to develop. There are two challenges however with my morning routine, first, because I am on the move most times, I sometimes find it impossible to write because I cannot locate my notebook or because I worked late in the night and I have to wake up really late. The other coincidence about my morning pages work is that it tends to take on a certain pattern and theme. For some reason, sunrise has a big impact on me and most of the emotions I can master in the morning are related to nature. It is quite unlikely that I will wake up one morning and pen a political piece.

As I have said before, I guess I am not so centre right disciplined as writer and my writing routine varies with environment, season or event. There are weeks and months when I have generated a lot of work and then there are those weeks and months when my brain is literally blank. I am literally always struggling with writers’ block. However, with my professional work of running and organizing writing classes and workshops in East Africa with Kahini and Writing Our World, I have been able to put myself in an environment which enables me to develop new content. I met various writers and often in these classes, I do a lot of in depth writing.


Coffee, juice or water are the best companions to my writing table or desk. I have a special brand of coffee that I buy from Rwanda and since last year, my life has been rotating around it. The mere smell of the coffee in a room gives me a good feeling and I feel relaxed, able to think and have my creative energies hyped. With such an environment, I could write for an hour. That is realistically the biggest time I can spend writing, unsupervised. I sometimes listen to music when I am writing but most times, I prefer a quiet calm environment to think and concentrate. Writing in nature id by far the most ideal for me.


So tell me Nikolas, how is your writing discipline?


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How to write and make a living
Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma

I just had my business cards made. For the first time in my history of possessing business cards, they say that I am a writer. This is not because I only started writing yesterday, but, for the first time, I am finally acknowledging that I am a writer and I want others to know me as one, too.

business cards

If you are a ridiculously funny writer you will say you knew you wanted to write from the first time you held a pencil. Others will say that the urge or need to tell stories bubbled inside them from when they were little, but unlike wanting to be a doctor or engineer, wanting to be a writer was never that dream you said out loud.

And so you turned to diaries and wrote your little heart out and got lost in other worlds that those who had been braver had created for you, but still, it was not that dream that you said out loud.

And if you were born in Uganda like I was, there was no school to go to to perfect this storytelling skill of yours. There were medical schools, law schools, institutes of technology, schools of education, and fortunately a mass communication class that came close to what you wanted to do, but writing remained that dream you could not quite say out loud. And if your President, like mine, believes that the arts are useless, writing remains that dream you cannot say out loud.

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  1. Honestly, Hellen, I cannot say that much. You just made a man pull up his sleeves.

  2. Profile photo of Cynthia Pacutho
    Cynthia Pacutho 27. January 2015 Reply

    “If you cannot lose that job to devote all your time to writing, set aside time to write and stick to it.” resonates with me…

    • Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
      Nyana Kakoma 28. January 2015 Reply

      I am still teaching myself the discipline of sitting and writing. and not procrastinating under the guise of research and looking for inspiration. I hope one day I get it.

  3. Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
    Tom Schroepfer 27. January 2015 Reply

    Nyana, your input specifies a question which has already been discussed in a subtle kind of way in this Blog, I think. Or not the question, but the topic of writing and earning money. It appears to me as a searching for a core of writing or a core of being a writer. Apart from the question ‘what can a writer/writing be?’ (which I also perceive as discussed in this Blog) you open the question ‘waht is a writer/writing?’ or ‘what has to be given to claim yourself credibly as a writer, or to claim your doing credibly as writing?’. The minimum requirements for that…
    I read your input as an encouragement for writers, not to underestimate themselves by putting away their inner needs in a hobby-drawer, but rather to solidify these needs (for writing) as a main subject of everyday life. Therefore you state, that the best objective to be achieved is to earn money through writing in a fully sustainable way, so that you don’t need to be disparaged through an other job.
    On the other hand there is this repeatedly showing up myth/narrative about writing/writers that/who has to be situated in the middle of life, in experiencing life, in the happing of life, which usually means somehow perceiving the world, people, rituals, habits, etc., through preferably many different experiences.
    I’m very much with Richard Schechner, the founder (or one of the founders) of performance studies, who neither claims the reality having a second and/or third job not to be seen as a disadvantage, nor as an advantage (because of multiple inputs), but as a necessity, inevitability. In order not to get lost in an art-ghetto, and in order to enrich every other area of life, private and (more important) public.
    I like this way of thinking, because with it, the duality of writing as an isolated core-matter (or making/doing art in general) on the one side, and writing banged up as a hobby on the other side, is collapsing.
    … (is it?) ?

    • Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
      Nyana Kakoma 28. January 2015 Reply

      Thanks so much for this, Tom. I would have to meet people who have successfully done it to decide if it is collapsing or isn’t. My concern is really the practicality of it. Say you’re a banker with an 8-5, Monday to Saturday. With a family sometimes. How then do you find time between banking, being present with your family, writing and living your life? Can you really have both worlds? And for me, that’s why I think, there is a level of seriousness/hunger that has to be attached to your writing for you to consider that duality.

      • Profile photo of Philipp Boehm
        Philipp Boehm 29. January 2015 Reply

        I think there are some jobs where this is possible and some where it isn’t. For example: I worked as a journalist for some time. After work I couldn’t write anything. There was too much going on in my head with deadlines and research and all those kind of things. While working in a factory, I had no problem with writing in the evening after I recovered. So I guess it had to do with the fact, that Journalism and my own writing were somehow too close in my head, which is funny, because of course writing for a newspaper is something completely different. But somehow I couldn’t clear my head. For some writes it’s different: I know a lot of people, who earn their money with writing for newspapers. And maybe someday I might do it again. Maybe there are times where you need your work, which you do for a living, to be completely disconnected from your work as a writer – and times where it’s good to have a job, which is connected. I think it all depends on your writing routine. Kafka worked 9 to 5, then slept for three hours, went for a walk, wrote during the night and slept another two hours in the morning. Maybe that’s the reason why all his heroes are tired all the time. But it worked for him.

        • Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
          Tom Schroepfer 29. January 2015 Reply

          One of the most cited refutations against unconditional basic income, is the presumption, that people won’t see a need anymore to take care for necessary everyday work/job and matters, that benefit others, but strain themselves.
          I get the opposite out of your comment, Philip, because it connotes the necessity, that writing needs to be inspired by various areas of life, that writing for its own has no quality, while at the same time, you need the possibility (as a writer) to go into retreat, without having the fear to live on the breadline…

          Do you think unconditional basic income would improve the conditions of writing?, would it simply change the conditions?, or deteriorate the conditions, because of the abolished force of earning money (and therefore being forced to get in unexpected touch with the world)?

      • Profile photo of Jens Laloire
        Jens Laloire 29. January 2015 Reply

        I completely agree with Nyana. It´s hard to manage your writing, when you work in an 8-5-job – especially if you like to spend a little bit time with your friends or your family. For sure it´s possible… somehow. Philipp is right, Kafka did that and a lot of other writers did that too, before they got successful. Stephen King for instance lived in a caravan with his wife and his children, worked as a teacher and used all his free time for writing (sometimes with one of his children on his lap) and sending his stories to publishing houses (the rejection letters he collected with an arrow on a dartboard). But those are not ideal conditions for writing. And Tom, for sure it´s good, if a writer collects life experience. But, if he is able to concentrate just on writing and does not have to work an additional job, that doesn´t mean necessarily that he is living in a cell isolated from the every day life (I mean, Marcel Proust did that in some ways, and I think, what he has written is not so bad). Nobody would say to a musician of an orchestra, to an actor of a theatre or to an architect that it maybe would be good for him, if he also would work in a “real job”.

      • Deo Wasswa Mulema 4. October 2017 Reply

        Hi Nyana Kakoma, do you have some books you have written, and do you do school visits? Thank you Deo.

  4. Wow, spoken truly and highly encouraging!

    I have been battling with these very issues myself, being a writer who has to take up a ‘real’ job to make ends meet.

    However, you are right. Writing is so diverse and not just about writing fiction. Most of the time, fiction won’t make money immediately. Sometimes never. But people need information out there, and writers can be paid good money for making such information available.

    With just a little bit more effort, you can make a living out to writing. Check out this article I wrote over here:

  5. Profile photo of Kitooke Amoni
    Kitooke Amoni 28. January 2015 Reply

    Thank you! I think this is inspiration I badly needed.

    Coupled with Joel’s “Publishing in Uganda”, it gives me good advice. I have kept a pile of poems and a few short stories for some time now, quite not sure how much I could get rewarded for them. I am my own audience.
    I think I will now seriously make longer strides towards getting them published and proclaiming my “presence” to the public. Thank you, again.

  6. Profile photo of Crystal Rutangye
    Crystal Rutangye 28. January 2015 Reply

    On one hand, I identify with this issue of hiding behind writing-related jobs, from the real challenge to exert yourself to achieve your real writing dream – a fiction book perhaps, or an anthology.. whatever the case may be. I wonder if settling for the features writer for a newspaper or magazine job quenches that desire to write that book you wanted to write since you were little, but can’t write because it is harder, and less profitable, to work at than your features articles. It is all writing anyway, isn’t it? Same satisfaction derived from putting thoughts onto paper, right? At what point do you settle for the right balance?

  7. Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
    Tom Schroepfer 29. January 2015 Reply

    I have to ask a question, that has not been mentioned (or subtle mentioned) in this Blog yet, but that has hunted me since the beginning:
    Do you writers claim yourselves as artists?
    I mean, I don’t want to doubt the serious conversations about earning money with literature and the simple need of surviving, I really don’t – but there would be missing something, if the discourse of writing would be limited to that.
    Is there an idealistic drive, or somehow a political conviction, or any other thing, that is an absoluteness to you?, that makes you think and act with a behavior of ‘I won’t do anything, but writing (… because this is what’s relevant in this world right now)’?
    Is there something in your mind or your behaving as writers, that you would be appropriate to claim you as artists or part of your being as artistic?

  8. I am here to give my 2 cents; I too was once given. If you want to be a writer you have to do it full time. Daunting I know considering the unpredictable monetary returns but you can’t two time this passion related stuff. It can’t be a side hustle. Cause then it will always remain a side hustle. I think our passions deserve more than being the hurried evening bang before rushing home to the main ball and chain. So better to give up one or the other. At least for an experimental period of time.

    • I do no agree with you. At least not fully. Writing can start as a side hustle and end up as something rewarding. There are some examples that I can give but this is not quite the time.

    • I do no agree with you. At least not fully. Writing can start as a side hustle and end up as something rewarding. There are some examples that I can give but this is not quite the time.

  9. Otherwise, nothing short of an inspirational, informative yet supportive read I must say for us writers anonymous. Thanks Nyana for sharing this.

  10. Writing is a special talent, not everyone is a good story teller , all successful people do what they know best, with or without pay, but driven by passion ,however most successful writers have always worked in universities as lectrures etc I tend to believe there is a connection

  11. I believe everything said was very logical. But, what about
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Round Table Take 2 – Meet Deborah Asiimwe!
Profile photo of Deborah Asiimwe


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  2. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have introduced for your post.
    They are really convincing and will certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very short for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from next time?

    Thanks for the post.

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More on the importance of writing groups
Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
Profile photo of Jens Laloire

Dear Jens, 

As promised, below, my friends Harriet Anena, Lillian A. Aujo and Davina Kawuma talk about belonging to a writing club and critiquing other writers’ work.

L-R: Davina Kawuma, Harriet Anena and Lillian A. Aujo, members of my writing group

L-R: Davina Kawuma, Harriet Anena and Lillian A. Aujo, members of my writing group

Would you advise someone to join a writing group?

Harriet Anena: A writing group with members that are dedicated to growing your art and not just tearing your work apart is a must join. Group members help you see the good and bad you may not have noticed in your work.

What do you think has helped your particular group work?

Lillian A. Aujo: Hard work, dedication and earnest critique. All these mean rewrites and drafts of drafts so we are all usually working on something.

Should writers critique other writers’ work or should that be left to readers and critics?

Davina Kawuma: Because I am both a reader and a writer, I suspect that there’s more than one way for me react to the written word. The reader-me approaches writing less as a critic and more as someone who wishes to be edutained. I won’t deny that I occasionally succumb to the despicable practice of reading to ‘spy’ what effects other writers are creating, and to attempt to demystify why and how and for what purpose these effects were created. However, I find, still, that I read mostly because I enjoy reading.

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  1. Profile photo of Jens Laloire
    Jens Laloire 15. January 2015 Reply

    Dear Nyana,

    It´s good to have a group like this to accompany each other in the writing process and discuss with people you like and trust and who are honest with their feedback. I guess, that helps a lot to reflect and push your own work. It sounds like there is a very inspiring atmosphere in your group. I agree with all of you concerning the importance of giving each other feedback, like Harriet Anena said in your interview: “Group members help you see the good and bad you may not have noticed in your work.“

    When I was in university we had a writing group too where we discussed our own texts. Later, I went to a new group, where we talk about literature and writing. Each time one of us held a short lecture about a special topic that is connected to a writing exercise that we worked on for fifteen or twenty minutes. At the end of our meeting we talk about what we had written during the fifteen or twenty minutes (and drink a few glasses of wine). It’s a good group with very nice people, and the lectures and writing games give me new input every time; but I´m also looking for a group, where I could talk about the stories I have written in the last weeks or days. I know there are quite a few interesting writing groups in Bremen, like the poetry workshop (Lyrik-Werktsatt) of the poet Ulrike Marie Hille, the Literapost of the author Hans-Martin Sänger, the network of young authors (njab) or the Literatreff in the Wiener Hofcafé (a group that exists since 1981) for instance. Some groups like WORTLAUT present their work together on public readings. (a list of writing groups you will find here:

    But I guess, I would prefer to start a new group with some writers I already know a bit better because I completely agree with Davina Kawuma, who said in your interview: “I think having a trusted group of writer friends read your work is important for more than reviews.” I wonder if some authors I know would be willing to read this, and would be interested in founding a new writing group …

    By the way, there is an open writing workshop as a regular offer of the Bremer Literaturkontor for young authors (to the age of 30) – you will get some information about that in my next post.

  2. Hellen, would you suggest a few ways that a normal writing group should function? What their focus should be? How to look for writing agents etc? Like how did your group manage to get into the anthologies they did? How long after a work was read was it decided it was now good enough? etc…Reference

  3. Profile photo of Nyana Kakoma
    Nyana Kakoma 20. January 2015 Reply

    It should be according to your needs as a group; what you need to learn and improve. You could start by writing your writing goals as individuals and see how the group can help. For example one of us is writing a novella and we keep checking progress to make sure she has not abandoned the project. You could also set some themes for yourselves to write about and discuss the work after. Look out for opportunities for submission and submit, that is how we get into those anthologies. Jalada, Lawino, Writivism, Short story Day Africa, and other online and print platforms, look out for them, write the stories and have the group look at them and submit. I am the only one that does not write poetry but every time I see poetry opportunities I tell them about them.

    After the first read, we give someone two weeks (which we sometimes do not adhere to, sadly) to get back to us with revisions. Those we do online or if we have time, can look at them the next meeting. Most times we are pretty satisfied with that unless the story has changed all together.Reference

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Profile photo of Tom Schroepfer
Profile photo of Mariya Nikolova


Mariya: Good morning, Tom, let me start our dialogue (to follow Fromm here in his claim that the best thing in life is to begin). After reading the stimulating discussions up to now, I thought we might offer an exchange on the other side of the battle field, namely, what are our modes of reading, how do we read (to counter the dialogues of how these authors write), what are our danger zones, where do we pause, how do we attempt (be it often to no avail) to reflect our blind spots (as readers). Let’s talk of situating ourselves, of disloyalty, dissociation, problematic readings and too, impossible ones. Of Glissant’s ’Nous réclamons le droit a l’opacité’ and the ethics of silence; the desire to know and unknow; politics of reading, its perils, vulnerability and possibilities, too. Let’s talk of questions that leave us restless and too, those which stand at the borderline between us and the text.

Tom: Bam Bam BAM! That’s not a start, that is an overwhelming mass of possabilities, no it’s not, but a realistic statement of what is already given (we don’t need to (re-)start things that are already in a ‘state’ of flux, in progress, in a progress of flux, or something like trans-streaming…). I think about our session last Saturday (our Bremen-Kampala-Blog-Group), when we talked about Nikolas’ first chapter (Joseph) of his novel in progress. We stated, that an opening of such a text, that overcharges the reader with a naturlaness of a story (no traditional, or easy accessible introduction where you get to know the charecters, places and else on a dinner tray like in an encyclopedia) and leaves one behind with a situation in which you have to deal with (and in a certain way to accept) a mode of not-knowing (“what’s going on?” and “what exactly is this about”), while simultaneously constructing a minimal, fractional access, to get hit by an influx to get soaked into the text (somehow being rejected by a text and getting caught in an undertow at the same time) – that such a beginning can be the literary translation to a/the concept of transculturalism. Transculturalism as a way to describe reality – social reality as given and grown structures that are influenced by various streams (each one for itself a highly dynamic formation) and directions. Both, transculturalism as a way to describe … world(?)/ a way of perception and the opening of (such) a text (currently I’m thinking that ‘beginning’ is simply a wrong term for handling such texts) alike, are dodgy situations, or better, require a sense for dodgy situations – one simply has to deal with the never wholly knowable background of structures and influxes of a cultural happening, one has to accept the never wholly bridgeable or fillable gap between the given and the/my/ones perception, but one has to create a walkable/walk-on-able bridge, in order not to get entirely lost.

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  1. Profile photo of Nikolas Hoppe
    Nikolas Hoppe 25. January 2015 Reply

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POETRY, POETRY AND POETRY / guest post by Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva
Profile photo of Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Have you felt, on your shoulder of late, an impatient literary truth that needs to be heard? It’s not the elf with the pitchfork or the angel with the halo, it’s poetry. It’s poetry from Africa. 2015 is the year to be a poet from Africa. If you haven’t been submitting poetry yet as an African poet, do so today, do so now. I would like to hear sentiments on this particular affirmation from the readers of this blog. Do they also feel that with the advocacy surrounding poetry, that 2015 is going to be a somewhat explosive and enjoyable poetic party?

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  1. Profile photo of Deborah Asiimwe
    Deborah Asiimwe 23. January 2015 Reply

    Thank you Bev, for this post and for all of your hard work in making Ugandan poetry and indeed African poetry visible. I don’t consider myself a poet, but it is amazing how poetry has inspired my other forms of writing. I look forward to when we can work closely together especially in the area of performing poetry.

  2. Thanks Debbie, this has been a great non-judgemental platform.

  3. kayanja isaac 16. February 2015 Reply

    #beverley i am a poet too i have published several poem on as kayanja me read through and comment

  4. mudanga charles 31. March 2015 Reply

    Thank you dear Beverly, we agreed your our poet laureate Elgon. Thanks for your efforts all. Hope we meet you someday.

  5. Thanks Beverly for the efforts. I equally appreciate Journalists and media houses that gave out spaces for poetry in their newspaper or magazine. Recently, i was made a beneficially of such gesture. The Publisher of Port Harcourt Microscope magazine has asked me to author and coordinate a poetry page in the magazine, just to create more awareness.

  6. Thank you Charles and Barry. Kind of you to respond. Barry, let me check out that magazine, Harcourt Microscope. Best!

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