Encouraging young writers, ng the image and history of Burundi to English Speakers and facilitating Burundians to take part in the regional integration effectively, were the main objectives of Andika Prize initiated by IWACU Press Group, launched this Thursday 25th July to local young resident writers by Diane Uwimana
Andika Prize is a Literary Contest initiated by Iwacu Press Group to encourage writers. According to Roland Rugero, Writer, Journalist and Coordinator of the so-called Prize, Andika Prize will allow young writers to communicate their culture to the region. “Our country is now an EAC full member. This is an opportunity for our writers to take part in the contest and improve the Shakespeare’s language as well as its use as a vehicular language in the region”, indicates Rugero.
He highlights that participants are going to choose their themes freely and write short stories which do not exceed 3000 words. Winners are going to be publicly announced in January 2014. “Andika Prize will offer three types of awards. Firstly, a material reward i.e. an Ipad will be given to all the first three winners. Secondly, the publication of the three best short stories in the form of reports will be distributed in schools and universities across the country. Thirdly, the best winner will be awarded to take part in Nairobi Festival Forum”, he mentions.
Andika Prize takes origin, indicates the journalist, in the relationship that everyone should have with the language. “Except the mother tongue, other languages such as English, French or Kiswahili are wide tools of communication throughout the world,” states the young writer.
Nowadays, as the entire world is moving towards the English Speaking countries, Roland Rugero indicates that this is a huge opportunity to young writers to write and talk about Burundi to the English world. “Literature allows the readers to travel in different places in the world”, points out the Coordinator of Andika Prize.
And thanks to this latter, Rugero hopes that we should have 15 short stories written in English in five years: “because this contest will be run every year.”
“Michel Kayoya and Andika Prizes are similar but in different languages”
After Michel Kayoya Prize, a French Literary Contest launched every year, now at its fifth edition this year, Andika Prize is for English writers. “Yesterday, it was the French Language promotion. Today, it is the English Language one and perhaps in the future, there will be the promotion of Kiswahili or Kirundi Languages in Burundi”, explains Rugero.
As Iwacu Press Group wants to promote and encourage writers to write, it is an opportunity for writers to put pen to paper and let know the world in their short stories in different forms and tenses. “We use the present tense in journalistic writing or style but it is an opportunity to writers to be free in their stories”, clarifies Rugero.
He mentions that young writers will be involved and motivated and the idea of the award is just simple because “we want to create reliability between technology and literature”.
Although writers are involved in writing in French or English, they are called upon to read more in order to write better. “We can’t be a good writer without reading”, reminds Rugero.
Andika Prize is sponsored by the US Embassy and Trademark East Africa.