Meet Chris Mlalazi in Uppsala

On Thursday 28 April at 6 pm Christopher Mlalazi, NAI guest writer 2011, will participate in a spring festival at Uppsala City Library. Christopher Mlalazi from Zimbabwe is an author and he also writes for the theatre. He has written the novel “Many Rivers” and the short story collection “Dancing with life; tales from the township”. On 5 May at 7 pm he will appear at Uppsala Stadsteater. We asked him four questions ahead of the events.

Q. What will you talk about at the library?
A. I will read ‘The Bulldozers are Coming’ from my short story collection “Dancing with life; tales from the township”.

Q. Your novel “Many Rivers” is set in Johannesburg and is about border jumpers, people crossing the Limpopo Rive escaping from Zimbabwe to South Africa. What was it like to get into the minds of the characters that live in a very violent and destructive environment?
A. “Many Rivers” was my first attempt at novel writing. At that moment I had perhaps a desire to leave Zimbabwe but I couldn’t do it at the time, so I decided to do it through a novel. The book symbolizes people’s wish to leave their home country to seek greener pastures.

Q. You are active on the internet, updating your Facebook page and also write your own blog. How would you describe your relationship with your readers and what is it like to always be able to get instant reviews by people expressing themselves on the web?
A. As a writer you are alone in your room getting comments from people that you have never met before. You are followed by invincible people! It is difficult to judge their honesty but I’m happy that they are following me; hopefully it will increase the sales of my books.

Q. Prior to coming to Uppsala you also stayed in the US for some time. In what ways, if at all, do these kinds of visits abroad have an effect on your style of writing?
A. You are given space and time to write. It is great for a writer because it is difficult to write at home where everyday things keep intruding into my writing.

Christopher Mlalazi
East Africa
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