LOCAL budding writers have blamed the economic crisis in the country and the shrinking book market, combined with Zimbabwe’s international isolation for the compromised quality of work on the market.

Speaking at the just-ended Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF), the new generation of writers said the state of the economy is forcing them to split their time between writing and fending for their families and this was compromising the quality of their work.

Award-winning author, Farai Mungoshi said the new crop of writers have to deal with day-to-day difficulties that disturb them from serious writing, unlike the older generation.

“If I woke up in the morning and I want to eat and there is nothing for me and my family, can I seriously concentrate on writing on an empty stomach? No, I cannot. Those basics distract us because there is not much coming out of writing,” he said.

“The country’s pulling out of the Commonwealth community also has an impact, as it shrinks our book market.

“Long back most Zimbabwean writers, among them my father (Charles Mungoshi), Chenjerai Hove and Musaemura Zimunya used to win Commonwealth prizes and virtually survived on writing.”

Another writer, Alois Sagota shared similar sentiments with Mungoshi, saying only an improved economy will allow a writer to survive decently on his works, as piracy has suffocated the book industry.

However, another young writer, Elisha July, who writes educational books, challenged authors to take advantage of the new curriculum and pen school literature, which he said is a ready market.

“If you write educational books that seek to address a need identified by the school curriculum, there is a ready market to buy the books,” he said.

“While going international might be the only viable route for writers, one has to have the pedigree to compete on international stage.”

BY NUNRAI JENA

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