Earlier this month, I applied for the Sauti ya Dada Workshop and I was excited when they accepted my application and invited me to the workshop. I got on a Guardian tablet and braved six and a half hours of travel to be in Nairobi. Why? I love writing and this was an opportunity for not just experiencing something new but also committing myself to writing and exploring non-fiction and long form writing.
I woke up on Saturday, layered up (because the gods of chill visit Nairobi more than they do Kisumu) and got to the PAWA254 hub thirty minutes early. We were twenty phenomenal women writers; different races, tribes, ages, professions and all of us shared one thing- love for writing.
The session was led by Nanjala, a Writer, and the one message that she constantly shared was the need for more women’s voices in the non-fiction writing field.
The challenge was “Would you still write it, if nobody read it?”
I learned more about establishing an argument, conducting focused research that would substantiate my argument. Then there was a session on the Basics of Storytelling and Interviews by Buzzfeed‘s East Africa Correspondent, Tamerra. Her approach and insights on writing for an international audience was great in providing a grand scheme or better yet, worldview on writing. The next sessions built upon data, fact checking, pitching to editors and what to expect when it comes to writing op-eds and long form essays.
Here’s my personal take on this workshop; it is crucial to share experiences, knowledge and skills when we can and now more than ever there’s a need for more women writers, the best way to look this is up, is to simply take a daily paper or long form publication and tell me how many of the long form articles are written by women.
The team at PAWA254 are doing a phenomenal venture in reaching out to diverse people and providing a platform for free expression whilst enhancing human interaction and rights.
The question still remains, “why do I write?” but it’s gotten more profound with “for whom do I write and what do I expect my writing to do?”