Long Story Short, a project that seeks to showcase African literature through a combination of live readings and free podcasts, kicks off on Friday.
A popular actor will read a short story in front of an audience within the intimate setting of their community library. These readings will be packaged into podcasts that the public will be able access as free downloads both online and on mobile platforms.
Some of the storytellers who will be featured as part of the pilot project include Khulu Skenjana, Abena Ayivor, Quanita Adams, Lindiwe Matshikiza and Mbali Kgosidintsi.
As Books LIVE reported earlier this month, the first podcast will feature Hlubi Mboya reading Nozizwe Cynthia Jele’s tense short story “Tender”.
The official Long Story Short launch is this Friday, 27 March, at Olievenhoutbosch Community Library.
The writers chosen for the long story SHORT project represent a huge variety of nations within Africa, genders, social concerns, beliefs and experiences. Kajeno Media enlisted the services of award-winning author Yewande Omotoso to curate a representative, entertaining and contemporary collection of short stories, excerpts and flash fiction.
“Rather than prescribe what young people should and should not be reading about, literature is both about entertainment as well as reading as widely as possible about a range of matters that concern us as human beings, Africans, men, women, girls and boys and so on.
“Literature, as understood by the Long Story Short project, is about humanity, compassion and exposure. Through listening and engaging with the range of stories within this first round of the project, young Africans will be encouraged to grapple with society, the world and most importantly with themselves. It is an invitation for their imaginations to thrive.”
Produced by Pretoria-based arts consultancy Kajeno Media and funded by the Department of Arts and Culture, the project will roll out in community libraries within Tshwane thanks to a strategic partnership with The City of Tshwane’s Library Services Division, with one reading happening a month, on a Saturday morning.
“It was really important to harness strategic partnerships leading up to the roll-out of the project. Because we are producing a digital product, the technical production of the actual podcast has to be perfect – hence the inspired partnership with The Academy of Television of Television and Screen Arts, who have plugged us into their top students to shoot, edit and package the podcasts,” producer Kgauhelo Dube explains.
This important literary intervention is Kajeno Media’s response to the alarming statistic that 92 percent of public schools do not have libraries.
“It was important for us to come up with an artistic project that speaks to a very basic infrastructural challenge that young people within our communities are faced with.
“If you don’t have a school library – where on earth do you access literature, let alone African literature? We hope that this is a modest step in pushing young people into their community libraries and once in there, they can now explore literature from our talented writers from all over the continent and in the diaspora,” Dube says.
Most readings will happen on a Saturday morning around 11am, as libraries usually close at 1pm on Saturdays, however the launch event will take place on Friday, 27 March, at Olievenhoutbosch Library, Cnr Legong and Rethabile Street, Olievenhoutbosch, from 1.30 to 4.30 PM.