Recently, more and more people from underrepresented countries are making their way into the world of literacy. Let’s start by learning a bit more about these extremely talented and versatile writers, authors or poets.
- The Great Indian Tee & Snakes by Kritika Pandey, India
Kritika Pandey from Ranchi, Jharkhand, India was the regional winner for Asia in the 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. Her story “The Great Indian Tee and Snakes” focuses on a real-life incident Pandey had witnessed, where a man was murdered by a lynch mob and his wife had a miscarriage due to the grief she felt from her husband’s death. The 29-year-old author from Ranchi, Jharkhand gave up the perks of a stable cushy career after getting an engineering degree from the Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra to follow her passion. She earned a spot in the highly competitive Young India Fellowship post-graduate diploma programme in Liberal Studies before heading to the University of Massachusetts to pursue a Masters in Fine Arts for Poets and Writers.
- Eddo’s Souls by Stella Gaitano, South Sudan
The first novel from South Sudan to become published in the UK was one of the winners of the English PEN’s flagship translation awards. The PEN winners come from non-fiction, fiction, poetry, short stories, and children’s literature genres. The winning book from South Sudan called “Eddo’s Souls” by Stella Gaitano and is set to publish in June 2021. “Eddo’s Souls”, which focuses on shining light on discrimination and inhumanity, expresses themes of love, loss, and neglect. PEN Translates is grateful that their literary contests are involving more and more international literature. Submissions came from a more diversified pool than ever before, and represent a wide variety, with submissions from countries all over the world. English PEN seeks to bring these different works of literature to English-language readers to create a more diverse literary world
- Have you heard George’s Podcast by George Mpanga, Uganda
George Mpanga, also known as ‘George The Poet’ made history at the 2020 Peabody Awards with his award-winning podcast, “Have you Heard George’s Podcast?”, which was the first British or European podcast to ever win a Peabody. Mpanga focuses on social-economic issues regarding people of colour all over the world. His thoughts take part in several pieces in Time Magazine, LA Times, and other publications. His award-winning podcast describes his experiences as a black citizen in Britain and the different problems he faced. The Peabody awards focus on representing stories that express significant issues in society.
The Future of Literature
Millions of students do not receive the education they deserve, and in developing countries, 53% of children around the ages 10-12 cannot read or understand simple stories. A strong foundation in reading has connections to many key skills that are important in everyday life. To increase the diversity in literature and represent many countries with fewer opportunities as developed countries, it is crucial that learning is improved in those countries. Learning poverty is a significant problem in the world and the World Bank, as well as some NGOs, look to half the number of children who cannot read by age 10, by 2030. By improving literacy rates in many underdeveloped countries, children are able to use more of their potential through their writing and thoughts to represent themselves and their unique experiences to the world.