By Bethsheba Achitsa
Published December 20, 2010
“Writing is a game to be played only by those who understand the rules that govern it”, begins the book that seeks to uplift the levels of arts appreciation in eastern Africa where little professional attention is paid to works of art such as film, architecture, fine art, literature and music.
Published in December 2010 and set for release in 2011, How to Write on 1001 Subjects! is written by Ogova Ondego, a creative writer, journalist, critic and audiovisual media practitioner who specialises in issues related to children, youth, creativity, mass media, culture and development and mentors youngsters.
“How to Write on 1001 Subjects teaches any one how to think logically and coherently for that is the only way to write clearly and crisply,” says the author who also publishes the ArtMatters.Info that flaunts arts and culture in Africa and the Diaspora.
Drawing from various eclectic international sources on writing, grammar and criticism, How to Write on 1001 Subjects! is a useful tool for any serious writer.
The 44 page easy-to-read book presented in a story-telling manner introduces the writer to the bolts and nuts of writing, culture and creativity besides illustrations on how to critically appreciate culture and the arts. It provides principles and perspectives of analysis of fine art, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, theatre, literature and film.
Initially developed for staff writers of ArtMatters.Info of Nairobi and used for both internship and skill-development mentorship programme through festivals in eastern and southern Africa, How to Write on 1001 Subjects! is not only aimed at equipping writers to fairly and effectively write worthwhile fiction and nonfiction but would be an invaluable toolï¿½ to researchers and students of humanities, cultural studies and mass media, journalists, critics, and just about any one who is interested in writing for communication.
Selestine Mwashagha, 19, recently went through a hands-on workshop in critical writing at which material from How to Write on 1001 Subjects!
“I have changed the way I look at music after reading the section on music in this book,” she says. “I have learnt that it is not just enough to appreciate the rhythm but it is also important to listen to and understand the effect of the message relayed in those tuneful beats.”
With in-depth guideline offered on how to analyse the various art forms, one cannot fail to see the scanty treatment given to literary analysis considering that there is a variety of genres when it comes to written works. The book should have accorded literature as much space and depth as it gives to film.
That said, How to Write on 1001 Subjects! is a commendable effort bearing in mind that writing is the mother of all the arts. That it is meant to assist the writer in finding direction and preserving professional consistency, this book is of greater value to the cultural spectrum of eastern Africa where critical appreciation of the arts is yet to take root.
A single copy of the soft cover How to Write on 1001 Subjects! retails at Sh250 (US$4) in Nairobi. For the time being, the book can be ordered directly from the publisher, ComMattersKenya, in Nairobi.