Lilian Masitera is a woman of many talents. She is a lecturer-in-charge in the Mathematics Department at Belvedere Technical Teachers College in Harare, a novelist, short story writer and poet.
In 1989, while teaching at Queen Elizabeth High School in Harare, she formulated a way through which the vertical angles of cones could be calculated. The formula was accepted as original by the University of Stanford in the United States and is now widely used by high school students.
In 1994, she was among a group of women who published the first anthology of poems and short stories by Zimbabwean female writers. The anthology was described by local critics as "a landmark in the history of Zimbabwean literature." In 1997, she received a merit award from the International Society of Poets for her poem, "Enter the Teetotaler," which also appears in Militant Shadow (Minerva Press, 1996).
In an interview which was published in Mahogany (November/December 1999), Lilian Masitera talked about her writing:
What made you publish Now I Can Play on your own?
I submitted the seven stories that make up Now I Can Play to a local publishing house a year or so ago. The editor who was handling the stories later informed me that the publishing house was not in a position to publish a collection of short stories from a single writer. Instead they wanted to do an anthology from a number of different writers. Some of my stories would be included in the anthology. Another four were going to be used in an English textbook for secondary schools. The publishing house had also taken another story, "Eleven Twice" and translated it into Shona for publication in a Shona textbook. Although I let them keep my stories and choose what they wanted, I am tired of anthologies. I have been in so many of them with my poetry, so I decided to go solo and publish the collection of short stories on my own.
Did you ever consider sending the manuscript to another publisher?
Minerva Press wanted to publish it. They had accepted the manuscript but I have a problem with being published abroad. My readership is here in Africa but the books don't get here. For them to be available locally, for them to be read here I have to order them myself and it's expensive.
Why Now I Can Play?
Because the whole collection is about women who have fought, won or lost and who say Now I Can Play. For example, there is a schoolgirl who gets raped by her teacher and ends up having an abortion. The story looks at events that led to the abortion.