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Interview, Beaton Galafa

We're lucky to have Beaton Galafa on the LISP jury board.

He is a Malawian writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He also edits for Nthanda Review.

What impresses you the most in fiction stories?

Plot twists. I like it when I am reading a story and at the same time thinking I’ve figured out what is going to happen but it ends up in a very unexpected way. It’s challenging to the power of imagination.

How do you describe the art of compression? What makes you think that a story is well-edited?

The art of compression must entail the writer’s ability to compact more information into limited space. This, obviously, is a key to successful short fiction and flash fiction. You need to decide what words to use to convey meanings that go beyond the semantic implications of the words you’ve put together. The higher the word density, the more effective one’s style of writing becomes for short fiction (and flash fiction).

When you read a story what makes it differ from the other ones? When you're reading the submissions for Nthanda Review, what are you looking for?

The uniqueness of a story in terms of theme and style in which it is narrated separates it from the others. I know themes are sourced from both our human experiences as well as imaginations, and at times you might have works that have related themes because of shared human experiences. This is where style comes in. Different authors have various ways of telling their stories, and when there’s a story that’s been crafted differently, you will not struggle to notice its beauty.  This is what informs my selections for Nthanda Review. I love stories that force me to be part of them, stories that place me somewhere in between the main characters and a passive observer, who doesn’t have any voice-only love (and hate) for some characters in the given story.

Finally, what advice would you like to give for the ones wanting to enter our 300-word Flash Fiction and 1500-word Short Story competition?

Well, mostly the difference between the writers whose stories we read every day, and thousands of friends who are yet to get their works out, is the submit button. Lots of writers have beautiful stories; they just fall short of submitting them. This competition should challenge their commitment to getting their works read by others from outside their circles. Once you feel your story is ready, go through the guidelines and hit the submit button. It’s impossible to have all stories win, but we do get very, very, good ones, there’s so much talent out there. Keep them coming.



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