September 15, 2010

Chenjerai Hove @ Books & Books Tonight

In anticipation of Banned Books Week, Miami City of Refuge writer-in-residence, Chenjerai Hove will read entries from his book of poetry, Blind Moon (Michigan State, $22.95), and speak of his plight as a censored writer in Zimbabwe. Presented in collaboration with Florida Center for the Literary Arts. 

September 15, 2010
Books & Books
265 Aragon Ave.
Coral Gables, FL 33134

Mr. Chenjerai Hove (pronounced chen-jeh-rye  hoe-veh) is a Zimbabwean author, poet, essayist, playwright, and human rights activist.  He has a Bachelor’s degree in Education and holds an equivalent to a Master of Arts with specializations in African Literature, Socio-Linguistics and Literary Theory. For over thirty years, Hove wrote from his native country unafraid of the risks involved in writing and teaching about the ugliness of his government. As time went on, his work became an increasingly political target of attack and so, after endless bribes and countless death threats, Hove finally fled to exile in 2001

Hove is the founder of the Zimbabwe Writers Union and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights).  He has lectured on the craft of writing as well as social justice at major universities across the globe. He has received the highest prize in literature given on the African Continent (the NOMA award) for his novel Bones in 1988, and his essays on social justice entitled Palaver Finish earned him the German-Africa prize in 2001.

Notable Books with Descriptions-

Publisher: Baobab Books (January 1, 1988)  
ISBN-10: 0908311036  

This proclaimed novel, and Zimbabwean classic, won both the Zimbabwe Book Publishers' Association first prize for literature, and the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa in 1989. The jury citation described the novel as 'a powerful, moving, and ambitious novel, written with exceptional linguistic control, plumbing the depths of human suffering but having the wisdom to hope'. The story is the sensitive evocation of Marita, a farm- worker, whose only son joined the freedom fighters in Zimbabwe's war of liberation. The poetic language is rich in Shona idiom.

Blind Moon
Publisher: Weaver Press; illustrated edition (December 29, 2003)  
ISBN-10: 1779220197  

A new collection of evocative and defiant poetry, the poems reflect on the plight of the individual citizen and the state of Zimbabwe, the poet's birthplace and spiritual home. They convey empathy for those who suffer anonymous deaths at the expense of tyrannical power, and yearning for a more peaceful world and spirit of common destiny; their intention being in his words' to persuade the heart and the soul and human body to be together and to gently cry out to the world'.

Palaver Finish
Publisher: Weaver Press Ltd (January 1, 2004)  
ISBN-10: 1779220014  

This volume brings together a series of articles, which have previously appeared in his weekly column in The Zimbabwe Standard. Hove, publishing in Zimbabwe, believes the voices of the nation's politically engaged writers - in tune with the mood of the people and the times - are crucial in the current climate of political violence and censorship. To outside media and observers trying to ascertain the truths of the political situation, his writings offer insights from a black Zimbabwean writer and critic. Hove writes for and about Zimbabwe from a perspective that acknowledges recent history, and debates around culture, tradition, and democracy. His case is that Zimbabwe is a police state, which has inherited pre-independence totalitarianism; members of the Government are in politics for reasons of personal gain - they are unsophisticated, poorly educated and have no notion of public office. He believes that the army and police - whom he compares with those of apartheid South Africa, are the politicians' personal weapons, committing acts of crime and terrorism in the President's name and in their own.

Publisher: Picador (November 22, 1996)
ISBN-10: 0330344900

This novel traces African national history and identity from the turn of the 19th century to the eve of Zimbabwe's independence.

Writers, Writing on Conflicts and Wars in Africa
Publisher: Adonis & Abbey Publishers Ltd (July 31, 2009)  
ISBN-10: 190670452X  

NOTE: This volume of essays was co-written with his colleague Okey Ndibe who teaches at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. This work could be presented in a public discussion as a dialogue between both authors articulating the political experience of writers from Africa.

The book is divided into two broad categories: in one, several writers speak directly, and with rich anecdotal details about the impact wars and conflicts have had in the formation of their experience and work; in the second, a number of scholars articulate how particular writers have assimilated the horrors of wars and conflicts in their literary creations. The result is an invaluable harvest of reflections and perspectives that open the window into an essential, but until now sadly unexplored, facet of the cultural and political experience of African writers. The broad scope of this collection-covering Darfur, the Congolese crisis, Biafra, Zimbabwe, South Africa, among others-is complemented by a certain buoyancy of spirit that runs through most of the essays and anecdotes.  

Shebeen Tales
Publisher: Serif Publishing (October 1997)
ISBN-10: 189795932X 

In Shebeen Tales, Chenjerai offers a view of his country not from the privileged and insulated perspective of the foreign correspondent of well-heeled visitor, but that of the ordinary person who, with the help of dry wit and illegal beer, pokes fun at the rich and mighty. Struggling against drivers, pompous bureaucrats and the other woes of life in the city, the man in the shebeen sees modern Africa as it really is, not as press releases or tourist brochures would have us believe.  

Publisher: Heinemann (October 1992)  
ISBN-10: 0435905910  

The novel was inspired when the author witnessed two young lovers who opted for death instead of life. The two lovers are innocents in a world where people have little control over their lives, struggling to survive in a barren land.

Up in Arms
Publisher: Zimbabwe Pub. House (1982)  
ISBN-10: 0949932175  

In the late 1970s, Hove taught at rural schools and witnessed horrific aspects of the war of liberation, an experience registered in the anger and compassion pervading Up in Arms (1982), his first collection of poetry.

Miami: City of Refuge is a project of the Florida Center for the Literary Arts at Miami Dade College, which is made possible by the generous financial support of the Knight Foundation. The projects mission is to provide a safe haven for persecuted writers for a period of two years. In January of 2010, the Center welcomed its inaugural Miami: City of Refuge writer-in-residence,  

The Center is a member of an international organization called ICORN (International Cities of Refuge Network) which identifies persecuted writers and aids their safe transition to member cities around the world. The goal is to afford writers a place to live and work free of oppression and share their unique stories with their adopted communities.

Mr. Hove is here in Miami until December 2011 and will share in solidarity his story of exile with students and the community and will write about the issues of political repression and social justice in his native Zimbabwe.

For more information about Hove, please visit and

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