Good editing is crucial to the success of any writing. Commonwealth Writers is committed to helping editors and writers develop their skills so they can reach a wide readership more effectively. We’re working with AWT to strengthen the capabilities of writers and editors in East Africa.
AWT identified eleven participants from four East African Countries (Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Kenya) to participate in a five day workshop. The sessions looked at all aspects of fiction editing. The workshop was delivered and led by Ellah Allfrey and Vimbia Shaire (both from the UK and Zimbabwe) and included visits from UK literary agent David Godwin, and Kenyan based editor Billy Kahora who talked to participants about his work editing Kwani?.
Editorial Skills Development Workshop Participants
Otieno is a freelancer with East African Educational Publishers. This was his first experience of an editing workshop. He applied because he wanted to develop his skills as a writer, and get practice at editing short stories.
Lydia is involved in development projects and works for an Intergovernmental Organisation in Kigali. She is keen to meet other writers and editors in the region. She’s particularly interested in writing and editing non-fiction.
Oliver is a researcher for Rwandapedia, where he edits entries and researches different sectors of the Rwandan economy. The workshop gave him his first formal training in editing.
Ayeta Anne Wangusa
Ayeta is founder and editor of Culture and Development East Africa’s (CDEA) online journal Mashariki: Cultural Understanding and Peace Building Journal. She is keen to improve the quality of the journal, and also wants to better understand the editing process.
Nakisanze works in the corporate sector. She applied to the workshop to improve her editing skills in fiction and non-fiction.
Dennis is a managing director at Optimist Media, a new publishing house which he founded this year. Dennis focuses on writing biographies but has had no formal training. He has just started out in publishing.
Glaydah has recently joined the editorial board at Femrite and is keen to improve her own expertise and that of others.
Frederick is a teacher and freelance editor, and has just finished editing a book on Somalia by Samuel Tumusiime (Makerere publishing house), which will be launched in Somalia in July. He comes from Hoima District in West Uganda and works with authors from Hoima on the editing process. Frederick is a self-taught editor and his aim was to be able to produce work to an international standard by the end of the workshop.
Helen Nyana Kakoma
Helen is the Group Magazine Editor for the Madhvani Group. She is a blogger and a writer of fiction. She runs her own online initiative Soo Many Stories and was interviewed by Commonwealth Writers at the announcement of the winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, 2014. She applied to the workshop to gain experience of editing from a writer’s point of view.
Barbara is a teacher of English literature in a secondary school and an editor at Femrite. She applied for the workshop to get clarity on the central dilemma that faces an editor: how do you reach the point of knowing what to keep out and what to keep in? Barbara also wants to learn about the contemporary market, the use of contemporary language, and how you can spread a message in an informal as well as in a formal way. She doesn’t believe in a division between fiction and non-fiction, as it’s just a story.