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"For Women Trying to Breathe and Failing" - Coming Soon from Batsirai Chigama"

Batsirai Chigama was born in 1977 in Zimbabwe. Her first poetry collection, Gather the Children, won the 2019 Outstanding First Creative Published Work from the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA). In 2019, she was also appointed an Iowa International Writers Programme Honorary Fellow. Get ready for her second book, For Women Trying to Breathe and Failing, coming out soon!

TM: Tendai Machingaidze

BC: Batsirai Chigama

TM: Tell us about yourself - Where you are from; Where you studied; Where you’ve worked; Where you are now.

Batsirai Chigama

BC: I am a traveler gathering knowledge with every experience that meets me, a trained HR practitioner with a strong administrative background. I am here now, for all it’s worth given the existing global circumstances that is all that matters.

TM: Talk to us about your storytelling journey. What propelled you to start writing and performing?

BC: I started writing to find healing at a very young age and so the journey continues even now, for healing is a process that requires time.

TM: Your debut poetry collection, Gather the Children, explores themes of political turmoil, displacement, and loss. Why choose poetry as the mode to delve into such a complex subject? What has the reception to your honesty and vulnerability been like from your readers in Zimbabwe and abroad?

BC: To be honest I did not sit down and set out to write about displacement and loss, this is a narrative shaped by the political/economic environment existing around the time the book was written. From a place of experiencing pain, disappointment and loss and trying to find balance, this book was born.

TM: Your new book, For Women Trying to Breathe and Failing, is coming out soon. Without giving too much away, what inspired this new work? What can readers look forward to?

BC: My second book is a woman’s world view about life in general. It is a celebration.

TM: What is your favorite book/Who is your favorite author?

BC: Tough question as I am an eclectic reader and read widely.

TM: What advice would you give to aspiring Zimbabwean writers and poets seeking to get their work published in Zimbabwe and abroad?

BC: Be interested in what others in your field are doing, young and old. Put in the work. Be visible. The rest will take care of itself.

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