Sabata-mpho Mokae takes workshop attendees ‘From Memory to Imagination’

From Memory to Imagination: A Generative Writing Workshop

The Iowa Writers’ House — starts Fri., Mar. 25 at 6 p.m.

Sabata-mpho Mokae
Sabata-mpho Mokae is teaching a workshop Mar. 25-26. Photo courtesy Iowa Writers House.

The Iowa Writers’ House is welcoming writer Sabata-mpho Mokae back to Iowa City, as part of his U.S. tour. The South African author, currently a doctoral candidate at Rhodes University and a creative writing lecturer at the Sol Plaatje University, spent 2014 here as writer in residence for the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. For this visit, Mokae will be teaching a class for the Iowa Writers’ House. The workshop, titled “From Memory to Imagination,” will focus on learning how to draw from one’s own archive of memory to create something wholly new.

One example of how this focus will play out on the page is in the workshop segment “Writing from Third World Perspective.” Mokae says in his course description, “In this segment, we will explore how writers in the so-called Third World find inspiration and that world to create the new world without totally alienating themselves from their environs.” The workshop runs Friday evening, Mar. 25, from 6–8 p.m. and Saturday Mar. 26 from 9:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. The cost for the workshop is $145.

The Iowa Writers’ House is thrilled that, for the first time, it is offering scholarships to this workshop. In partnership with The Dream Center, it is seeking to reach out to those who wouldn’t otherwise be able to attend. All interested writers are welcome to apply.

Community members interested in contributing to the scholarship campaign are encouraged to explore the range of donation levels, all tax-exempt. There are opportunities both to sponsor full scholarships and to contribute towards them. Currently, there are six scholarships funded for this event, with support from the University of Iowa (through their Arts Share program) and Chuck and Mary Ann Peters of the Gazette Company.

IWH founder Andrea Wilson wrote in a message, “It says so much about the incredible support of this community in wanting to give people a chance to find their VOICE and WRITE … We want to continue to offer scholarships and doing more of this in the future!!!”

Mokae has written in a wide variety of genres, and his workshop is likewise geared towards fiction and non-fiction writers alike. His 2015 book, Kanakotsame: In My Times, is a collection of English-language short stories. He has also written YA (Dikeledi [Tears], 2014), poetry (Escaping Trauma, 2012), biography (The Story of Sol T Plaatje, 2010) and a novel (Ga Ke Modisa [I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper], 2012). His novel won the M-Net Literary Award; he has also won the South African Literary Award for literary journalism.

The workshop, in addition to applying across literary disciplines, is accessible to writers of all skill levels.