News Release: Writer-in-Residence Welcomed

September 14th, 2010 · No Comments · English, News Release, arts

The University of Manitoba’s Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is pleased to announce the arrival of Ignatius Mabasa, its new Writer/Storyteller-in-Residence. Mabasa will hold the position through December 2010.

A poet, novelist and storyteller from Zimbabwe, Mabasa will visit classes, mentor writers and storytellers, and give several performances throughout the fall term. In addition he will be finalizing his third Shona novel, Vana Venyoka (Brood of Vipers).

Mabasa grew up on his grandfather’s farm where he heard his grandmother tell stories each evening. By the age of eight he was retelling his grandmother’s stories to his siblings and cousins. He explains: “Somehow the beauty and charm of the stories that my grandmother told befriended me more than the other children. Getting an opportunity to retell her stories introduced me to what I later learnt was creative writing, because in the retelling I found myself adding new twists to the plot.”

Since that time, Mabasa has published two award-winning novels, Ndafa here? (So what?) and Mapenzi (Fools), and a collection of folktales entitled The Man, Shaggy Leopard and Jackal and Other Stories. He has also produced Yadhakwa, an album of gospoetry, and published poems and short stories in several anthologies.

As well as a poet, storyteller and novelist, Mabasa is a gospoet and dub poet, a champion of Shona language, wisdom and folklore, a mentor for the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe, the deputy director of the British Council in Zimbabwe, and a lay preacher at his local church. He is working to establish the first storytelling venue in Zimbabwe.

Mabasa holds a Bachelor of Arts in Shona and Linguistics and a Postgraduate Diploma in Media and Communications, both from the University of Zimbabwe, as well as a Master of Philosophy in Media, Communication and Development from the University of Norway, Oslo. From 1999-2000, Mabasa was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at North Central College, College of Du Page, College of Lake County and William Rainey Harper College, all in suburban Chicago. In 2009 he participated in the San Francisco International Poetry Festival alongside legendary American poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

“Ignatius brings an amazing set of skills and talents to the University of Manitoba,” says Warren Cariou, director of the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture and Canada Research Chair in Narrative, Community and Indigenous Cultures. “His work moves between the oral and the written, which fits perfectly with our Centre’s focus, and he also has great experience in mentoring young artists. It will be a pleasure to learn from him and to hear his stories this term.”

The Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture was created to provide a space for scholars, students and visiting artists to collaborate, create works of verbal art and study the relationship between oral and written culture.

Information about the Centre for Creative Writing and Oral Culture is available at

More information about Ignatius Mabasa can be obtained from and

You are invited to join in welcoming Ignatius Mabasa at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, September 16, 2010, in University College’s Great Hall (Room 218) at 220 Dysart Road on the University of Manitoba’s Fort Garry Campus.

The event will include an exclusive performance by Ignatius Mabasa as well as readings by students Daria Patrie and Sean Braun.

This event and the reception to follow are both free and open to the public. All are welcome.

For further information, please contact Jessica Woolford at: 204-480-1065 or email:

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