Eppel turns to social media in lockdown

RENOWNED Bulawayo author and literary critic, John Eppel, has turned to social media to share his writings following the banning of public gatherings after President Emmerson Munangagwa declared a 21-day national lockdown last week to arrest the potential spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

BY SHARON SIBINDI

The national lockdown, which exempted only essential service providers, began on Monday this week.

In response, Eppel decided to pen his childhood memories on Facebook as a form of entertaining his friends on the social media platform.

“I’m writing my childhood memoirs on Facebook using the time during lockdown. I started posting these fragments of my childhood on Facebook when we went into lockdown because of the coronavirus,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.

The 72-year-old literary giant said he was not yet sure if he was going to develop the memoirs into a book.

“I am not sure yet if I’ll expand it into a book. This depends on my diminishing energy levels. I turn 73 this year,” he said.

“My working title on Facebook is Homes of My Childhood, Homes of My Imagination. I am going to stop at the age of 12: my first year at high school.”

Eppel said he enjoyed recalling those memories, which included both funny and sad moments.

“I have the help of my late mother’s unpublished memoirs, which she wrote in the last decade of her life. She thought I was a strange little boy,” he said.

Eppel has published 20 books including The Giraffe Man, which has been translated into French. He developed a creative writing course for the University of South Africa and published three O-Level and one A-Level literature study guides.

Eppel was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Prize for his first poetry collection, Spoils of War and the MNet prize in 1993 for his novel, D G G Berry’s the Great North Road. His second novel, Hatchings was nominated for the MNet prize in 1993.

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