Book lovers cheer as Litfest comes alive


THIS year’s edition of the LitFest International Literature Festival returns this week,
featuring 60 festival participants from Zimbabwe, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, the UK and
In a year the Zimbabwe International Book Fair promised so much but delivered so little,
many will look forward to the Literature Festival with great expectations.
The great expectations comes in the wake of almost three years of Covid-19 restrictions that
saw the majority of interactions in virtual sphere with limited in-person attendance. It will be
time for people to go out explore, interact and engage in literary discussions with readers
being afforded an opportunity to meet authors.
The festival will run in Harare from this Wednesday to Saturday (23 to 26 November) and
will be followed by outreach workshops in Gweru and Bulawayo on November 28 and 30
November respectively.
The LitFest festival will feature panel discussion sessions, dialogues, and performances that
include poetry, theatre and music.
In a bid to encourage the development of the arts and culture sector, the festival will also run
a workshop for high school students and another one for creatives in Harare.
All the activities will revolve around this year’s festival theme: “We are Joy– Celebrating the
ties that bind us”.
LitFest Festival director, poet Chirikure Chirikure, explained: “We will be hosting more than
60 festival participants drawn from Zimbabwe, Benin, Ghana, South Africa, the UK and
“These will contribute to the festival in varied ways, including being panellists in the
discussion sessions, giving keynote speeches, working as resource persons for the workshops,
as well as giving performances.
“The discussions and workshops will be run during the day, while the evenings will be for the
live theatre, poetry and musical performances. It will be a packed, but varied, stimulating and
entertaining programme.”
Among the festival highlights, include a keynote presentation by Professor Alison Phipps of
Glasgow University in Scotland. Professor Robert Muponde, the Zimbabwean writer, who is
based at Witwatersrand University, South Africa, will respond to Professor Phipps’
On the performances side, the line-up includes productions by Afrikera, the Children’s
Performing Arts Workshop – Chipawo, Batsirai Chigama, Ignite Theatre of the UK, as well
as a live music performance by Diana “Mangwenya” Samkange and her mbira ensemble.

The festival is expected to close on Saturday with another mbira concert featuring Okay
Machisa and Machena Music at Theatre in the Park.
According to Chirikure, the festival activities will run at several venues in Harare. The
discussions will be held at B2C Nexus, in the Batanai Gardens, along Jason Moyo Avenue,
while the evening performances will be at Theatre in the Park, Harare Gardens.
The official opening will be at Nhaka Gallery, former Delta Gallery, while the schools’
workshop will be at the Harare City Library, and the Creatives workshop will be at Mbare
Art Space in Mbare.
The workshops for the outreach programme in Gweru and Bulawayo will have most of the
international visitors and some local artists functioning as resource persons.
The visitors will also share their works by way of reading and performing. Local participants
will share their work with the visitors. The Gweru and Bulawayo programmes will be run at
the American Corners, courtesy of the American Embassy.
Entrance to all the discussion sessions and workshops is free, and those interested in
participating are encouraged to register in advance to avoid disappointment because of the
limited capacities at the various v venues.
Evening shows will be ticketed, with nominal charges.
Caption 1: Chirikure Chirikure (third left) joins Hope Msika, Patience Phiri and Tariro
NeGitare on stage. (Picture: Panorama Magazine)

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