Ivor W. Hartmann is a Zimbabwean writer, editor, publisher, and visual artist. Awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (2009), finalist for the Yvonne Vera Award (2011), selected for The 20 in Twenty: The Best Short Stories of South Africa’s Democracy (2014), awarded third in the Jalada Prize for Literature (2015), and Nommo Awards nomination (2017). His works have appeared in many publications. He runs the StoryTime micro-press, publisher of the African Roar and AfroSF series of anthologies. He is a founding member of the African Speculative Fiction Society, and on the advisory board of Writers International Network Zimbabwe.

16 December 2011

Call for submissions: a new SF anthology: AfroSF

Call for submissions: I am editing and publishing, AfroSF, a new Science Fiction anthology. Really looking forward to reading what the writers come up with, and think on the whole this antho could be quite ground breaking. AfroSF will be the first Science Fiction genre anthology open to submissions from all African writers (only) across the continent and diaspora.

Deadline for submissions is May 31st 2012.

Submission guidelines and submissions are here: AfroSF Submissions.

The Facebook page is here: AfroSF.

08 October 2011

The first release of 'African Roar 2011' now out!

StoryTime presents: the first release of 'African Roar 2011'! Now available through the Kindle platform worldwide for nearly every eReader. I published this anthology, edited it together with Emmanuel Siguake, and have a story in it: 'Diner Ten'.

Buy from Kindle USA

Buy from Kindle UK

Buy from Kindle Germany

Buy from Kindle France

And through Kindle apps on iTunes.

29 August 2011

'A Mouse amongst Men' published in StoryTime#152

Have now published 'A Mouse amongst Men' for the first time in StoryTime#152:

"I came here to South Africa to survive, fleeing from the stone-cold house my country Zimbabwe had become. I sit here now and the traffic goes by. I re-read repeatedly this torn and tattered book of near-prophecy a fellow countryman once wrote. It’s the only book I own now and all that’s legible of the cover title is the word, Hunger. Once I had bookshelves stuffed with the promise of good reading until my dying days. Once I had a real job, a car, and house. Once I was good looking and stood tall with a gleam of distant horizons waiting to be plundered in my eyes. Once I thought I was a man, now I know I am a mouse... Full Story

24 August 2011

'A Mouse amongst Men' short-listed for the Intwasa Yvonne Vera Award

Happy to announce that my short story 'A Mouse amongst Men' has been short-listed for the Zimbabwean, Intwasa Yvonne Vera Award. Yvonne Vera is one of my favourite writers so it is an honour to be in the running for this award named after her. There's some great writers on the list:

Intwasa Yvonne Vera Award Shortlist 2011

Ango Leonard’s Game - Mercy Dliwayo
A Mouse Amongst Men - Ivor Hartmann
A Moment of Madness - Thamsanqa Never Ncube
A Mixed Multitude - Philip Chidavaenzi
One - Blessing Musariri
Chanting Shadows - Mbonisi Pilani Ncube
The Sound of Silence - Lilian Dube
Memories of a past life - Bongani Ncube
The Last Place on Earth - Kathryn Truscott
Night Riding - Sarah Norman
Mr Pothole - Diana Charsley
Poor Signal - Emmanuel Sigauke
Ndebele is the new colored - Tswarelo Mothobe
Times Change - People Change - Tanya Hunt
Radio Culture is Dead - Elizabeth R. S. Muchemwa

01 August 2011

Update: Something Wicked#12: Short Story

Something Wicked#12 now out and I have a short story The Devil's Advocate in this issue:

"O Royal Emperor Eosphorus, Most Exalted, Ruler and Master of All that Was, Is, and Will Be.

The contents (sealed after these words of introduction), have been painstakingly pieced together from ancient data records. These records handed down the ages as inert sacred relics of another era, were preserved somewhat unwittingly, yet propitiously, by our order..." Read More.

03 July 2011

Update: Something Wicked#11 essay

Something Wicked#11 now out and I have an essay In Pursuit of True AI in this issue: "In today's modern society, Artificial Intelligences are nearly all-pervasive. The odds are that you personally interact daily with some form of AI, be is a call centre program, automatic car transmission, video game, Google search, email spam filter, or a computer of any type - are pretty high. However the realisation of a true AI, in terms of matching, and exceeding human intelligence and characteristics such as emotion, creativity, and social intelligence, etc., would seem as far away as we are to living on another planet..." Read More.

28 June 2011

Updates: New post at African Writing and vids for the Stories on Stage (Sacramento) event

New post at African Writing: How to successfully irritate and editor: Warning: Just one and certainly all of these points combined are 100% guaranteed to work (and if they don’t you’re dealing with an alien editor from another planet with infinite patience... Read More.

Vids now up at my fb fan page for Rick Cook's performance of my story 'A Mouse amongst Men' at the Stories on Stage (Sacramento) (African writers edition). See Vids.

21 June 2011

Emmanuel Sigauke Interviews Stories on Stage (Sacramento) June Featured Writer Ivor Hartmann

Ivor W. Hartmann, is a Zimbabwean writer, currently based in Jhb, South Africa. He is the author of Mr. Goop (Vivlia, 2010), and was nominated for the UMA Award (2009), and awarded The Golden Baobab Prize (2009). His writing has appeared in African Writing Magazine, Wordsetc, Munyori Literary Journal, Something Wicked, and Sentinel Literary Quartley, among others. He is the editor/publisher of StoryTime, and co-editor/publisher African Roar. His story, A Mouse Amongst Men will be performed by Rick Cook on June 24th.

Each time I have read your story A Mouse amongst Men, I have been touched by its lyricism and the depth of its issues. Can you tell the world what inspired this story?

In a word, exile, both experiencing it myself and being attuned to its effects in my fellow Zimbabweans. However, even though I have wanted to write this story for a long time, it took me even longer to be able to even approach this story, as it was just too painful to contemplate with any measure of objectivity that I needed to write about it. So while the inspiration was there all along, I just couldn’t face it personally. That said, when I finally could, not only was it very cathartic, but I felt it would help to begin to tell a story for many Zimbabweans in South Africa; who have suffered the ignominy of exile from their homeland and have not always landed on their feet, nor been able to fully adjust.

What is the function of fiction in depicting the condition of the Zimbabwean at home and abroad? What can both readers and writers learn from the Zimbabwean story?

There are many functions to telling our Zimbabwean stories, from achieving a global awareness of our situation, to being an added push for political change, and everything in between. But what I focused on with AMaM was the personal psychological effects of leaving your country of birth unwillingly and how these effects are far reaching, in how you deal with the world at large, and how it deals with you.

There is certainly much to learn from our Zimbabwean stories, and what we do know is that true freedom is an illusion, for no one (not anyone in any country in the world) really knows what it is and how to attain it. But it is something we must continually strive for until we do know what it is, and how to live it and keep it. One thing is sure though, we have learnt and are still learning what freedom is not, and true freedom must start with the rights of all individuals regardless of nationality, gender, race, creed, sexual orientation, etc. So this is what we may learn from our own Zimbabwean tragedies, we learn what freedom is not, and these are lessons that are highly valuable not only for us Zimbabweans, but for our whole world that strives to attain the meaning and practice of true freedom.

As the founder and editor of StoryTime, what have you learned about the state of contemporary African writing?

I don’t think any one person may comment about a whole continent’s writing and be even vaguely accurate in doing so. That said, from my own experiences with StoryTime and the African writing community at large, those that I am in touch with, I believe we are entering a whole new phase in African writing. One where African writers are beginning to write what they like, not what they think they ought to be writing, and that is the great step forward towards writing our own stories, without bowing to anyone’s influences.

What do you think is the value of international reading series like Sacramento’s Stories on Stage to contemporary African writing?

I think SOS is a great initiative, and I wish there were many more like it worldwide and at home. It is very important to create events and platforms like SOS that give exposure to African writers and their writings to the world at large. If you ask the average American reader, to name just ten African writers, they will be very hard pressed to do so (I have tested this), and this is because so very few of us make it to the kind of international platforms that gives us that kind of exposure. This despite the fact we are a continent of over one billion people, and we do have so many great writers with amazing stories to tell. So yes these kinds of platforms are incredibly valuable and essential to African writers and I hope to see and participate in many more in the future.

On the question of genre, where do you stand? How comfortable are you in navigating through the genres?

I am proponent of writers writing whatever they want to write. To give an example: twenty years ago crime fiction from Africa was basically unheard of, yet today this genre is one of our biggest sellers. Why? Because this is what those writers wanted to write and they did not let anything stop them from doing so. By doing this they built a local and then international fan base for African crime fiction that forced publishers to start publishing it, whereas previous to this they did not even consider it publishable. So what it comes down to is writers who create new markets by writing what they want to write, not publishers, and thus it is our duty as writers to pursue whatever genre(s) we would like to and break new ground if we have to.

I don’t even think about the genre, or genres, of what I’m writing in until after the work is complete. It is the initial concept and resulting story unfolding that drives me onwards regardless of what genre it might be classified as after the fact. So I’d say I’m very comfortable in whatever genre(s) the story may end up in, because it is of absolutely no concern to me during the writing process, the adherence to the telling of the story is what is paramount.

You have won fiction awards. What do you think is the role of literary awards, such as the Caine, to the development of African literature?

Well, I have won only one so far, The Golden Baobab Prize in 2009. But, I can say that it was of great encouragement to me, especially as it came only two years into my writing career. So I’d say that while it’s great if you win them, they are not the be all and end all, and should not be the prime focus of a writer, that should of course be the act of writing itself. That said, if you do win a major lit prize like the Caine, Guardian, etc. it can have huge benefits to one’s career in terms of exposure, so write not for them only but do enter them, as you certainly have better odds, than say winning the lotto, as it will be up to your skill as a writer.

What I’d like to see, though, is more big money, big exposure, awards that are actually based and judged in Africa by Africans. We still do not have a continental award that fits these criteria, which is fairly absurd when you really start to think about it.

So there are indeed many issues when it comes to what writing from Africa makes it onto the international scene through awards and otherwise. After all, while we may have problems so does any other continent in equal amounts, but that is not all that you read from them. We have many great stories to tell that should be given equal opportunity and recognition.

Awards can be, and are, of great influence too and for writers and with that comes an inherent responsibility that should not be taken lightly and given great thought as to their long term impact.

What are some of the challenges facing the African writer today?

There are so many challenges, where to start? A fellow African writer was asked recently, was it easy to make a living as a fiction writer in Africa, and her response was, sure, if you define easy as nearly impossible. And that’s the truth of it really, it is nearly impossible to do so. Of course, there are the regular problems all writers face worldwide, but added to that are the very few publishers we have, even less who are interested in publishing fiction, and fewer still willing to publish non-contemporary fiction. To make my point clear, there is currently a grand total of exactly one lit magazine in the whole of Africa that focuses on SF/H exclusively.

So really before you even lay down that first word ever, the odds are stacked against you no matter how good a writer you may turn out to be, and that is not very encouraging at all. Yet despite this, we do have very many good and great writers (and more every day).Writers who against all odds still do pursue a writing career, even though almost none will ever make it a big way, enough to live off their writing. But this does not stop us from trying, and slowly but surely we do pave a way for the writers who will come after us, as ours has been by those who came before us.

In your story featured at Stories on Stage, you allude to Dambudzo Marechera’s House of Hunger? What do you think is the extent of Marechera’s influence on contemporary African writing?

Ah DM, he seems to pop up sometimes in my writing at a very subconscious level that I only see afterwards. So as you can see he has certainly had a huge impact on me personally — though I do not strive to be exactly like him, nor write like him — and I am not alone in this as an African writer. I think one of the reasons his writing endures and still has such a large influence is that he was one of the first African writers to truly write whatever he liked, and so he personifies that entirely necessary independence of the artist; an independence of mind and thought, which carefully analyses and judges whatever ideologies are being pushed by whomever for whatever reasons, to see a truth behind the propaganda of the times and be unafraid to reveal it. And this is one of the functions of an artist in any society, to see the truth and reveal it so that it can be properly understood by many and so cause change for the better.

What can you tell readers seeking to branch into African literature?

I’d say if you haven’t done so already, there is a vast and unique richness awaiting you, one that you’ll never regret having plunged into. I could recommend many African authors, but what one reads and enjoys is a very personal thing, so it would end up being a list of my favourite African authors. So why not try a taste of as many African authors as you can? We all have something to offer, and you are sure to find African authors that deeply resonate with you personally.

What projects are you currently working on?

Probably too many, but the main ones are: The literary ‘StoryTime’ weekly online magazine (since 2007), and its annual anthology (since 2010) African Roar 2011 due out in the coming months. I’m also working on another anthology called Remembering Marechera that will be published for his posthumous 60th Birthday next year in June (open to all for submissions, see: Remembering Marerchera Anthology Submissions). And of course all my own writing projects, consisting of short stories (with a collection in mind at some point), as well as a few novels, which I hope to finish and see about getting published. So generally, I’m always very busy with many projects at various stages, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Emmanuel Sigauke grew up in Zimbabwe where he studied English and Linguistics at the University of Zimbabwe. He is based in Sacramento, and he writes, teaches college composition, literature, and creative writing at Cosumnes River College. He the editor/publisher of Munyori Literary Journal, co-editor of the annual anthology African Roar. He has published short stories and poetry in various literary journals and anthologies. He is also a board member of the Sacramento Poetry Center, where he hosts poetry readings every second Monday. He will host SoS’s June 24th evening of African writing.

08 May 2011

"'A Mouse amongst Men' to be performed at Stories on Stage (Sacramento)" and "Part Two of the OGOV roundtable on African writing now out"

The award winning reading series of short fiction read by actors, Stories on Stage (Sacramento), is featuring African writers on June 24. And I'm happy to say one of my unpublished contemporary short stories 'A Mouse amongst Men' has been selected.

Part Two of the 6th OGOV round-table discussion on African writing and the internet, join the conversation... Read More.

06 May 2011

"Remembering Marechera" anthology Submissions Reopened

Dambudzo Marechera (Photo by and © Ernst Schade http://www.ernstschade.com/)Firstly we would like to thank all those who submitted work to the anthology, we greatly appreciated your entries.

We congratulate the following writers whose work has been selected:

Poetry: Abigail George, Yemi Soneye, Tinashe Muchuri, Vivid Gwede, Mukoma Wa Ngugi, and Dami Ajayi.

Essays: Joseph Chikowero, and Josephine Muganiwa.

Short Stories: Raisedon Baya, Austin Kaluba, Tinashe Chiurugwi, Fungai Rufaro Machirori.

Interviews: Tinashe Mushakavanhu and Eric Nzaramba.

We have re-opened submissions until the 29th February 2012, and will be publishing (if all goes well) on Marechera's 60th Birthday next year.

We are looking for excellence in essays, reviews, short stories, poems, and interviews, which show new insights into Marechera's works and life. Fun, interesting, and probing works that feature Marechera, directly or indirectly, as a major theme. What effects did he have personally, socially, in literature, academically, historically, contemporary, and what effects did they have on him? What drove his demons and saints, etc.?

Please may you direct all your submissions here: RM Subs

04 May 2011

"What's hard for you as a writer" and "African writing and the Internet roundtable discussion"

Author Uche Umez asked several fellow writers including me: "What's hard for you as a writer". Read my response (with a slight tongue-in-cheek) at his blog... Read More.

In January I joined several writers in the 6th One Ghana One Voice round-table email discussion about African writing and the Internet. Read the first part of two now published at OGOV and join in the conversation... Read More.

08 April 2011

New post at African Writing: ReadSA goes to Pietermaritzburg

"On the 17th and 18th of March I had the pleasure of going to Pietermaritzburg and speaking to students at Orient Heights Primary School, from six primary schools (Orient Heights Primary, Greenhills Primary, Ramatha Road Primary, Springhaven Primary, Ridgeview Primary, and Northlands Primary)..." Read More.

And also Chinelo Onwualu of Cassava Republic Press, asked nine writers "if you had just one African book that you would recommend for the next generation of African readers, what would it be and why?". I chose 'The House of Hunger'..." Read More.

30 March 2011

New post at African Writing: A Must-Read African authors books list

"Awhile back there was a 100 must-read books list purportedly (it turned out not to be) from the Beeb doing the facebook rounds, and now its back in the form of an app. What greatly disappointed me then, and now, was the total absence of African authors on that list. So to remedy this dire oversight, and with your help, I’m composing a collective and unlimited African authors only must-read books list..." Read More.

26 March 2011

Two interviews at Kubatana "Inspiration is everywhere" and "Inside/Out"

Inspiration is everywhere - Interview with Ivor Hartmann: "As a creative person what inspires you?: I think it’s more a question of what doesn’t inspire me, as I am daily inspired by what I see, read, and experience personally. It could be anything really, the glint of sun off a wet road, the smell of rain, a great line of writing... We live in such an amazing world it’s hard not to be inspired on a daily basis if you are observant." Read More.

Inside/Out with author, editor and publisher Ivor W. Hartmann: "What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?: Realising your dreams requires hard work and persistence above all else." Read More.

New post at African Writing: Seven effective habits of happily unsuccessful people

"A self-help satire that in all probability is never coming to a book-store’s self-help section near you..." Read More.

28 February 2011

New post at African Writing: Write what you Don't Know

"I often hear ‘write what you know’ being espoused to new fiction writers as a golden rule, and for awhile as a new writer I heeded it..." Read More.

10 January 2011

A New Year and a new Blog at African Writing

It's a brand new year and I have started a brand new additional blog at African Writing. Below is the link to my first post there, comments welcome.

It starts as a lone moan into the crisp winter air of a Johannesburg morning, but it is soon answered by another, and another, until the moans become a proud roar that encompasses the entire city. It was the 9th of June 2010 official Vuvuzela Day in South Africa, and at twelve p.m. everyone who owned one blew one, country-wide.... Full Post

This is a website for Zimbabwean Author Ivor W. Hartmann. All posts on this site are Copyright © Ivor W. Hartmann 2007-2011. All rights reserved.