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Short Story Day Africa

Short Story Day Africa brings together writers, readers, booksellers, publishers, teachers and school children from all over the globe to write, submit, read, workshop and discuss stories – and to foster the love of reading and writing African fiction.

As part of the Short Story Day Africa 2013 celebrations, writers from across the continent were invited to answer twenty-one interview questions that Short Story Day followers want to know about them. I am happy to participate and I salute the great people of Short Story Day Africa for the important work they do.

1) Do you actually enjoy writing, or do you write because you like the finished product?

I enjoy punching the right keys without looking at the keyboard. Occasionally I enjoy the fact that I came up with that sentence. I enjoy the humility of knowing I was handed that sentence. The finished product is pretty special too.

2) What are you reading right now? And are you enjoying it? (No cheating and saying something that makes you sound like the intelligensia).

Sister-Sister by Rachel Zadok. A few pages in.

3) Have you ever killed off a character and regretted it?


4) If you could have any of your characters over for dinner, which would it be and why?

Can’t choose, they’re all pretty interesting people. I feel like I’ve already had dinner with them.

5) Which one of your characters would you never invite into your home and why?

They’re all welcome.

6) Ernest Hemingway said: write drunk, edit sober. For or against?

Never tried it. But editing sober seems logical. Writing while somehow released from your inhibitions (some might not need the alcohol) also seems sensible.

7) If against, are you for any other mind altering drug?

I’m pretty straight down the middle when it comes to drugs.

8) Our adult competition theme is Feast, Famine and Potluck. Have you ever put food in your fiction? If so, what part did it play in the story?

A current character I am writing is a chef.

9) What’s the most annoying question anyone’s ever asked you in an interview?

What’s your all time favourite author or book. Why all time, why not just for today or for the next two weeks? It’s too big a question for me.

10) If you could be any author other than yourself, who would you be?

Nah. Not because I’m all that but just because I’m not into wishing I were somebody else. If I could be Meryl Streep though, that would be fun.

11) If you could go back in time and erase one thing you had written from your writing history, what would it be and why?

Nothing comes to mind, either because I tend to forget stuff or because I really do feel whatever I wrote was okay even if just for then. There’s always more to learn, there’s always plenty of room to get better.

12) What’s the most blatant lie you’ve ever told?

About ten years ago I stayed in a kind woman’s home in Milan while she travelled on holiday. While there I broke her precious piece of antique furniture. I kept quiet about it the whole time. I then lied about it when she got back. Attempted to pin it on someone else but failed. Made a fuss but paid for the cost of fixing it (all the while still denying it) and then months later I sent her an email and told her the whole story, that she’d harboured a liar and I was really sorry.

13) If someone reviews you badly, do you write them into your next book/story and kill them?

Too much effort. It’s not a big deal, maybe they were right and the book I wrote had problems.

14) What’s your favourite bad reviewer revenge fantasy?

They write a book and I get to review it.

15) What’s the most frustrating thing about being a writer in Africa?

Exclusive Books trying to cram all our work into a shelf one and a half metres long. Jodi Picoult gets a whole wall – do I sound bitter?

16) Have you ever written naked?

No but when summer comes around again I can try it.

17) Does writing sex scenes make you blush?

Nope. Just get a bit concerned about my Dad reading those bits.

18) Who would play you in the film of your life?

Not really something I’m thinking about! But if Meryl Streep agreed to do it that would be a boon.

19) If you won the Caine Prize for African Fiction, what would you do with the money?

Pay off my bond, give some to my family. Throw a party and invite my friends. Stuff like that. Buy lots of books.

20) What do you consider your best piece of work to date?

What I’m working on. I think that’s right, that the best is always coming versus gone already. That we’re always learning and getting better.

21) What are you doing on 21 June 2013, to celebrate Short Story Day Africa?

I’ll be working but in addition I’ll make sure I read a stash of short stories by writers from the continent. And in the evening I’m attending the Can Themba Memorial Lecture.

  1. June 15, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Reblogged this on joeseeberblog and commented:
    awesome post, gave you a follow. http://www.joeseeber.com

    • June 15, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for reading the post and thank you for reblogging it.

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