A new book, Interviews with effervescent writers has just been published. Although a national, international work, the book has a remarkable Free State presence. The Mpumalanga based editor of the work, Christine Mautjana, here talks about how the book came into fruition...What inspired you to produce this work, Interview with effervescent writers?
Christine: To be frank with you, I have always wanted to put together a book of interviews with cross section of writers. I co-operated with other enthusiastic writers all over the place in making the dream come true.
I understand there was a "weeding-out" process – that many writers who should have featured in the book were not used in the end.
Christine: Yes, in the beginning we had about twenty five writers. I have studied other books of this ilk and wanted this one to be rather different. The focus was on the quality. I did not want repetition...or banality. Some of the authors’ answers did not contribute much to literature, and regretfully they had to be excluded.
To what extent were you inspired by the works: African writers talking and Talking with African writers?
Christine: Yes I was inspired by them. Those were, and still are, classics of African Literature. What I did in this now work was de-emphasize the role of the interviewer so that there would be no confusion and there would be a cohesive flow.
I also noted that you singled out individuals’ quotes from each a writer as a sort of preclude to their interviews. Why did you do this?
Christine: (Smiling) You know, A work like this is also a learning process for the editor. Every writer, and their perspective is different For example in the book, writer Teboho states facetiously that Sesotho readers are as scarce as finding a sober man in a bar! This made me laugh my head off!
How much of a learning process was this book for you?
Christine: I discovered that there are so many writers out there. Writers are inspired by a number of disparate factors. As a woman, I was very much impressed how widely a woman like NMM Duman has read and has a very fertile imagination. Yet she has a low profile, unlike so many limited writers always running around for publicity.
I can see you have included a few white writers in this work. Did you find them much different from their black counterparts?
Christine: No, the impression I got is that writers are more or less the same irrespective of their colour. They love to see their ideas in print, they all wish that much more people will read in general... and they also wish to purify their society – Maxwell Kanenyama is a good example of this, as he is always preaching in his books..in his short stories