I graduated in 2014 from Syracuse University’s top-ranking creative writing MFA programme, where I worked with poets Michael Burkard, Christopher Kennedy, Brooks Haxton and Bruce Smith, novella expert Brian Evenson, novelists Arthur Flowers, Rivka Galchen and Dana Spiotta, visual artist Juan Juarez, memoirist and poet Mary Karr, writer-activist Minnie Bruce Pratt and short story writer and novelist George Saunders. Jonathan Franzen and Zadie Smith visited. I have also worked with veteran writing teacher Lesley Cowling in Johannesburg. And online with short-short writer and poet Barbara Henning and personal narratives teacher extraordinaire Anja Achtenberg. The gifts to me of these devoted teachers, inspiring artists and high order human beings are what I want to share in my Highveld Reading and Writing Studios.
My fiction won me a fellowship at the Norman Mailer Writers Colony, where I worked with Jeffery Renard Allen. I also won an artist’s residency at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild. Caine Prize winner EC Osondu awarded my 2013 short story “Re-Enactments” the Stone Canoe prize for an emerging fiction writer in New York state. My first work was published in ITCH in 2010. In 2010, I was also ITCH’s e-intern.
At Syracuse University, I taught critical reading and academic writing to undergraduates, as well as a literature appreciation class. I taught fiction to a summer class for high school students. My MFA in Creative Writing required participation in three semester-long workshops, which included written and verbal presentations on my fellow writers’ work, and focused group discussions on aspects of literary craft. I took classes in the short story, memoir, Proust, Ulysses, the novella, contemporary American fiction, Western poetry, the visual arts, music and writing, and hoodoo literature, among others. These seminars required close reading, and written and verbal presentations.
The anthology I developed and co-edited, Queer Africa: New and Selected Fiction, won the prestigious 2014 Lambda Literary Award for a fiction anthology, the first African book to win a “Lammy”. Queer Africa 2 is due to launch in June 2017.
I have 20 years’ experience as a freelance technical editor. Among my specialities is Plain English, and I am highly regarded for my interpretive skills. My clients include the South African National Treasury and other government departments, civil society organisations, research institutes, museums, and individual writers. I have international accreditation in copy editing, and I am a member of the South African Professional Editors’ Guild.