Dr. Mary Tororeiy, a Kenyan Anglican priest, is our first Scholarly Writing and Publishing Resident living for three months in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to finish her manuscript for double blind peer review and eventual publication with Borderless Press.
Here is Mary’s account of her Residency Program and words of gratitude towards Postcolonial Networks:
In the spring of 2015 I responded to an invitation from St. Paul’s University Limuru, Kenya to attend a research and publishing workshop. At the time, I was in the business of wrapping up dissertation writing, defending, and graduating. Little did I know that RSVP-ing the invitation was going to be the beginning of a great journey in my scholarly enterprise.
I met the organizers of the conference, Postcolonial Networks, in a 5-days opportunity of learning how to navigate the writing-to-publish process. My main interest was to know the magic of turning a dissertation into a book. I shared this interest when the leaders asked each participant what we all expected at the workshop. Again my expressed inquiry would give way to an interest on the Postcolonial Networks team who would later ask for the copy of my dissertation in order to establish its value. This quest has brought me to where I am now—a 3-month residency in Philadelphia!
The quest to publish is a roller coaster of its own, but I am grateful for the never-ending patience of my scholar mentor, Dr. Robert Wafula. He has not only been kind to host me during my residency, but he also identified a scholar in my area of study who read my project and gave a go ahead for its editing. My scholar mentor has been my cheerleader as well as resource person in terms of the needed literature. He has also connected me to libraries in the area so that I am able to access library services for my study. On his part, Dr. Ngwa has been a great help in reading and reviewing my project. Being an Old Testament scholar, and a Job scholar as well, his guidance has been immense.
Since attending the workshop in St. Paul’s University and being in conversation with my scholar mentor, I have learned, to my surprise, that writing a dissertation is one thing, and publishing a book is another. While a dissertation committee is the only target in dissertation writing, the target audience for a book is different. In order to ensure the shelf life as well as market value of a book, the target audience as a key factor cannot be understated. I have learned that target audience redefines the shape the book will take and subsequently, the amount of editing to be done. Redefining the target audience will also redefine the methodology(s) to be used. I would not have been able to map these were it not for my scholar mentor, Dr. Wafula.
When my book is finally done and in print, I will be indebted to Postcolonial Networks for arranging, and offering, the residency program. There is scarcity of resources in Kenya, especially the availability of books. The residency has made it possible for me to access a pool of libraries from where I can borrow books. The residency also offers an ample time to only focus on the project. This would not have been possible were I to juggle work, family, and writing all at the same time. Being able to have a couple of meetings with my reviewer is very helpful. I am able to converse with him face to face and get a clear perspective of what I need to do.
Supporting Postcolonial Networks will enable many other writers from the Majority world to benefit from the residency program. It will enable Postcolonial Networks to reach out to other potential writers who would otherwise never get published. I am very grateful for the thought to offer support to Postcolonial Networks. Through them you will be reaching out and touching lives of so many that would never get the opportunity to share knowledge for the benefit of their communities and institutions. Your support will go a long way in ensuring knowledge advocacy through publishing.
I look forward to wrapping up my project by end of May so that it goes to double blind peer review. When I feel overwhelmed I think of the prospect of holding my book in my hands, and the thought of it keeps me going. Upon the completion of my residency I anticipate returning to Kenya and continue in the teaching ministry, and who knows, may be another book!
List of Residents:
- 2017 Residents to be announced
- John Ndavula – 2016 Resident at Luther College
- Carlos José Beltrán Acero – 2016 Resident at Drew University
- Mary Tororeiy – 2015 Resident at Drew University