Saturday, July 28, 2018

#BABISHAI2018 SHORTLIST: GRACE SHARRA (MALAWI)



 Grace Athauye Sharra, 31, hails from Ntcheu District in Malawi. She holds a Diploma in Education and teaches languages at Mitundu Secondary School in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Courtesy photo


She is a poet and short story writer. Her works have appeared in many local and international publications. Her poem, We Wear The Mask, features in a book titled Malawi a Place Apart by former Norwegian ambassador to Malawi Asbjorn Eidhammer published in 2017.

In The Familiar Stranger and Other Stories: An Anthology For Junior Secondary School, Grace has a poem titled Sacred Vows and a short story, The Anointed One published by CLAIM Mabuku Malawi in 2013 and is now the textbook for English Literature. Her short story Guilty appears in The Grafted Tree And Other Short stories edited by Sambalikagwa Mvona. It is also in Call It Fate and Other Stories edited by N. Mwangupili and T. Mgunda published by Bookland Malawi.

Tomorrow Will Come, features in War Drums Are Beating, by Alfred Msadala published by Acin. Other poems and a short story are in Poetry For Senior Secondary School and Mphamvu Ya Kondaine Ndi Nkhani Zina (nthano) by Chancellor College Publication in 2013.She has also published in local newspapers and magazines.

Q:     What was the process of writing your particular poem, My Letter To 
You?
A:  It is a product of a lot of events that inspired me to write that verse. I put all my bewilderment, confusion, experiences and protests. Nothing is sacred anymore in our societies. We are no longer our brother's keeper and are ready to betray and sell our souls for almost nothing. 

Q:     What does poetry mean to you?
A: Poetry is sacred. It means everything. It is my first and truest love. It allows me to express myself in the most satisfying and therapeutical manner. You may say it sanctifies me.

Q:     What are your five year goals with your poetry?
A: To publish my book, perform at international events and reach out to as many people as I can with my work while inspiring the budding writers.

Q:     Which African poets are you keen on reading?
A: Denis Brutus, Frank Chipasula, Lindiwe Mabuza, Susan Kiguli, Gcina Mhlophe and Jack Mapanje

Q:     What are some of the challenges you face with poetry?
        I.            The perception that people have based on what one writes. They always associate the persona in the poem with the author which can be frustrating to say the least.
      II.            It is hard to publish poems in Malawi.
    III     Many people do not appreciate poems, let alone poets


Q:    Any parting remark?
A: Poets are winged souls, they should never sell their voice. A poet who sells his or her voice is a sacrilegious being.
Poetry is a powerful tool that we can use to fight all evils in our society.
I am so excited for being shortlisted for the Babishai poetry competition. It has given me wings and I don't intend to fly an ordinary pitch.
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The #Babishai2018 shortlisted poems may be read here:

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