The LitFest International Literature Festival is set to roar this week. The festival will run in Harare from 23 to 26 November, followed by outreach workshops in Gweru on 28 November, and Bulawayo on 30 November.
The LitFest festival will feature panel discussion sessions, dialogues, and performances that include poetry, theatre and music. As a way to help in the development of the arts and culture sector, the festival will also run a workshop for high school students and another one for creatives in Harare. All the activities will revolve around this year’s festival theme: “WE ARE JOY – Celebrating the ties that bind us”.
As poet Chirikure Chirikure, the festival director said, “We will be hosting more than sixty festival participants drawn from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Benin, South Africa, the UK and USA. These will contribute to the festival in varied ways, including being panellists in the discussion sessions, giving keynote speeches, working as resource persons for the workshops, as well as giving performances. The discussions and workshops will be run during the day, while the evenings will be for live theatre, poetry and musical performances. It will be a packed, but varied, stimulating and entertaining programme.”
Some of the festival highlights will include a keynote presentation by Prof Alison Phipps of Glasgow University, Scotland. Her presentation will be responded to by Prof Robert Muponde, the Zimbabwean writer who is based at Witwatersrand University, South Africa. On the performances side, the line-up will include productions by Afrikera, Chipawo, Batsirai Chigama, Ignite Theatre of the UK, as well as a live music performance by Diana “Mangwenya” Samkange and her mbira ensemble. The festival will close with another mbira concert at Theatre in the Park featuring Okay Machisa and Machena Music.
Chirikure also says, “The festival activities will run at several venues in Harare. The discussions will be held at B2C Nexus, in the Batanai Gardens, Leopold Takawira Avenue, while the evening performances will be at Theatre in the Park, Harare Gardens. The official opening will be at Nhaka Gallery, former Delta Gallery, while the schools’ workshop will be at the Harare City Library, and the Creatives workshop will be at Mbare Art Space in Mbare.”
The workshops for the outreach programme in Gweru and Bulawayo will have most of the international visitors and some local artists functioning as resource persons. The visitors will also share their works by way of reading and performing. The local participants will also share their work with the visitors. The Gweru and Bulawayo programmes will be run at the American Corners, courtesy of the American Embassy.
Entrance to all the discussion sessions and workshops will be free, and those interested in participating are encouraged to register in advance to avoid disappointment because of the limited capacities. However, the evening shows will be ticketed, with nominal charges.
The full festival programme and posters will be available in due course.