Valerie Tagwira’s first novel, Uncertainty of Hope, has won the NAMA award for best fiction. The awards ceremony, held on February 13 at the 7 Arts Theatre in Harare, Zimbabwe brought together seasoned and new artists.
The nominees of Outstanding Fiction Book were: White Man Crawling – John EppelThe Uncertainty of Hope – Valerie Tagwira
Tears of Water – Christopher Gwata
Valerie Tagwira has touched the hearts of many readers worldwide with her first novel, which has, to use Joyce Carol Oates’s terms, provoked, disturbed, and aroused our emotions about life in contemporary Zimbabwe. Some readers have begun to request that the author start work on a sequel.
VALERIE TAGWIRA TALKS ABOUT THE AWARD
Sigauke: What does this award mean to you, considering that this recognition of your work has come this early into your career?
Tagwira: The award means that The Uncertainty of Hope is being accepted and recognised as an outstanding work of literature. I am pleased and I feel honoured.
I hope that receiving this award will translate into wider readership and distribution. This is important to me because when I set out to write The Uncertainty of Hope, my aim was to highlight a host of issues that affect women and their families in the political, social and economic climate that is prevailing in
Zimbabwe. I also wanted to show how decisions that are made at the top by the authorities can sometimes work against the interests of the ordinary man, woman and child. Hopefully, this award means that the message which drives The Uncertainty of Hope will reach a much wider audience. Also,this award is symbolic to me as a victory for the women who live under very difficult conditions,like the ones around whom The Uncertainty of Hope is centred; women who wake up at 3am and go to bed at midnight, doing back-breaking work just to keep their families fed.
Sigauke: Some readers have shown interest in reading a sequel. Do you think there is a possibility of extending the story into a sequel?
Tagwira: I don’t think I will write a sequel. However, there are themes that I started exploring in The Uncertainty of Hope that I would like to pick up and develop further. There are also characters that I would like to look at again and see if I can tell their stories from another angle.
Sigauke: Although you lead a busy life as a medical doctor, you have extended the scope of your art to include short stories (and poetry). Do you see this trend growing? What can the readers expect from you next?
Tagwira: I am going to continue writing. With the short stories for example, one has been featured in the Dec/Jan 2008 volume of African Writing Online. Another is going to appear in a 2008 anthology by Weaver Press, and I have other short stories that are in various stages of completion.I am also going to keep writing poetry but I am not sure how much of it I will be submitting anywhere because it is the most personal form of writing that I am doing at present.
[Originally published at Munyori Poetry Journal]