Emmanuel Sigauke and Ivor W. Hartmann are both prose and poetry writers from Zimbabwe. For a number of years, they have individually contributed to the literary dialogue of their country through – in the case of Ivor – Science Fiction writing, and in the case of Emmanuel, poetry and fiction. But sometime in 2009, they started a writing collective called Story Time through which they expanded their reach beyond Zimbabwe to the whole of the continent.
Story Time was a portal for short stories from around the continent by writers of diverse backgrounds. And in 2010, the project evolved into a book project called the African Roar. The first issue, edited by the two writers (Ivor at the time living in South Africa, and Emmanuel in the United States), was released. It was then described by the editor as “a fiction anthology initially drawn from the very best stories published from 2007-2009, in the StoryTime weekly literary ezine.” This first issue featured Ivor Hartmann himself, along with Emmanuel Sigauke, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, Masimba Musodza, Christopher Mlalazi, Kola Tubosun (NTLitMag editor), Beaven Tapureta, Chuma Nwokolo Jr, Nana A Damoah, Ayesha H. Attah, and Ayodele Morocco-Clarke. In 2011 and 2012, other editions were released featuring work by Wame Molefhe, Abdul Adan, Nnedi Okorafor, Uko Bendi Udo, Vukani G. Nyirenda, Ifesinachi Okoli-Okpagu, Gothataone Moeng, and Hana Njau-Okolo, among others. They were also edited by Emmanuel and Ivor.
In 2012 however, Ivor closed down the Story Time website/Project citing the pressure of time and other pursuits as an impediment to maintaining a lively website of living stories across the continent. From then on, stories that make it into the African Roar anthology would have to be directly submitted to the editors. A fourth instalment of the anthology series has now been published, edited this time by Emmanuel Sigauke, alone. As opposed to the first issue, this instalment (like the 2012 edition) does not come in paperback, but only in Kindle formats. Authors featured in the book are Alison S. Erlwanger, Jayne Bauling, Aba Amissah Asibon, Abdulghani Sheikh Hassan, Dipita Kwa, Barbara Mhangami-Ruwende, Andiswa Muqutu, Dilman Dila, and Bwesigye bwa Mwesigire.
LitMag contributor and resident critic, Ikhide Ikheloa, who once reviewed the first issue and gave glowing appraisal, had a different view of the latest issue calling it ‘a challenging and ultimately frustrating collection’ (that) ‘struggles with an identity crisis from the very first page, beginning with Sigauke’s “Introduction.””
In this issue of the LitMag, I pose some of the questions raised by Ikhide Ikheloa to the editors of the African Roar. Their responses can be found in their respective interviews. This is my second interview with Ivor, the first one being a long conversation that was published on the now defunct 234Next and on the Sentinel Nigeria Blog. A short story and poem by Ivor W. Hartman is also included in the issue. Other things you’ll find in our Issue #23 are fiction by Kelechi Njoku, poem by Kolade Ajayi, and fiction by Nze Sylva Ifedigbo. Here’s a guide:
- FICTION | A Mouse Amongs Men by Ivor Hartmann
- FICTION | JAMB by Nze Sylva Ifedigbo
- POETRY | A Voyage of Kinks by Kolade Ajayi
- POETRY | Our Fathers Have Gone by Ivor W. Hartmann
- FICTION | Reincarnation by Kelechi Njoku
- INTERVIEW | Questions for Ivor W. Hartmann
- INTERVIEW | Questions for Emmanuel Sigauke