As a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant, part of my responsibility is to spend time outside the classrooms (or in my case, our Language Center) contributing to community projects. The project that walked into my life last December was a literary journal with one of the few academic language and linguistics groups in Rwanda. With the help of one of my INATEK colleagues, I was put in contact with the Language and Linguistics Student Association of the National University of Rwanda and told a bit of their story. A literary journal had been tried there several times including a promised attempt by travel writer, Rick Bass (see his recently published book In My House, There is No More Sorrow: Ten Days in Rwanda for a terribly inaccurate, guilt-ridden, narrow view of Rwanda). So to say the least, I was frustrated for the group and embarrassed by another American’s false promises.

Literature has always wriggled its way back into my life, no matter how often I try to deny it out of a falsely practical standpoint. And today, I find myself in a project that encourages the study of literature in myself and others. The journal has been much of a success logistically: it has its own ISBN and is funded by the US Embassy of Kigali; but also in how it has affected the writer’s to see an actual product come from their efforts.The Language and Linguistics Student Association of the National University of Rwanda wrote and edited all the works in the literary journal and I have watched their excitement and enthusiasm for the project grow over the last few months.

The book will be circulated through secondary schools to encourage the study of literature in university (pending approval by the National Curriculum Development Center). It will also be available as an ebook. Below is an excerpt from the Foreword that I prepared for the journal (some of it is repeated info FYI).

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