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A Day with Writer-in-Residence Tinashe Mushakavanhu

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Tinashe Mushakavanhu

Our 2023 writer in residence, Tinashe Mushakavanhu, spoke with 澳门四不像论坛 creative writing students about imagination, form, media, the Zimbabwean literary diaspora, and artmaking under the radar of authoritarianism.

Using examples from his recent work, Mushakavanhu discussed printmaking and editing as modes of community building, as well as ways of tracing the movement of Zimbabwean literature across the globe. Zines, pamphlets, anthologies, crowd-sourced 鈥渁necdotal鈥 biographies, and speculative book covers (based on Dambudzo Marechera鈥檚 unfinished novels) all figure among Mushakavanhu鈥檚 projects, which challenge traditional divides between media, forms, and genres.


Mushakavanhu led students through his creative methodology, which 鈥渢heorizes by doing.鈥 Students were exposed to the ways in which color in printmaking, attention to all five senses in writing, and bookmaking (attending to all parts of the production process) bring people together, making writing collaborative and challenging the notion of reading and literature-making as solitary activities. The pamphlet-as-form, an alternative to the novel, is taken less seriously by authoritarian governments; it playfully averts their gaze. An artist with one foot in the academy, Mushakavanhu also touched on his library of books that never existed, his biography of a Zimbabwean literary giant made of anecdotes collected via Whatsapp, and his work 鈥渢ranslating鈥 between different media, modes, and cultures.

Tinashe Mushakavanhu is a Zimbabwe born writer currently based in Oxford, England. He is a Junior Research Fellow in African & Comparative Literature at St Anne鈥檚 College, University of Oxford. His short stories and poetry have been anthologised. He is a recipient of the prestigious Miles Morland African Writer鈥檚 Scholarship.

He has previously worked in digital media including as inaugural Group Digital Editor at聽, Zimbabwe鈥檚 oldest private newspaper, and also participated in a media fellowship at聽. In 2016 he was selected as a CNN Diversity Fellow. For a long time he was a literary columnist for聽The Standard聽newspaper. He is a former Executive Secretary of the now defunct Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe.

His latest nonfiction writing focuses on historical and literary subjects. He is currently working on projects about figures such as聽,听补苍诲听. His recent books include聽Some Writers Can Give You Two Heartbeats聽(2019) 补苍诲听This Man is Dangerous: A Writer in Harare听(2023).