“At the end of the residencies, I have completed short stories that are now published and started other stories that I later completed. I made friendships with different artists; a painter I met in Bellagio is translating one of my stories into Spanish and will exhibit my story along with his paintings in Chile. That is just one of the many artists I have met,” Lamwaka told Saturday Nation.

“Writers I have met have shared with me writing opportunities or recommended me for opportunities that I would never have known or been part of,” she adds.

Lamwaka has published a number of poems and short stories. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing for her short story Butterfly Dreams that was published in a collection tilted, Butterfly Dreams and Other New Short Stories From Uganda (CCC Press Nottingham, UK, in 2010).

According to Adong, Uganda needs residencies more than the US and UK because the two countries have more performing arts schools than what Uganda can provide. “Higher education training in the West is more practical compared to ours that is theoretical.”

“Residencies are very important for networking. For example, my plays that have been studied at Ivy universities in the US have been recommended by the people I have met at residencies,” Adong adds.

According to the founder of the Ebedi International Writers Residency, Dr Wale Okediran, a residency for writers generally is both necessary and expedient. “It is not only a place of peace and tranquility for the writer to articulate and organise his or her thoughts, but also a place for the cross-fertilisation of ideas with other writers. In those days when creative writing was an exclusive preserve of the university, staff and students had writers clubs and creative writing magazines as avenues for the exploration and expression of their creative talents.

“But not all writers are academics or scholars, many of them are professionals in other fields who are gifted with creative talent. They may not need tutoring or mentoring, but certainly they would need socialisation and to acclimatise in the creative writing environment. The idea of a residency, therefore, is to offer such services to writers from different educational and professional backgrounds,” Okediran writes in his paper ‘Empowerment of Women’s Literature through Writers Residency Programmes: The Ebedi Experience.’

“More than ever before, these services are needed more by women who by virtue of their multiple roles as writers, professionals, mothers and wives often need a place and time to concentrate on their work,” Okediran adds.

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