Writings of the general word's body

Monday, June 13, 2011

Penguin SA Writers of the Month

I like when writers are asked deceptively simple questions in interviews, like 'Which word do you most overuse?' Or when a publication allowed writers to answer the question they would have liked to be asked but which interviewees invariably overlooked...

If Isabel Allende had not been asked to recall her 'most embarrassing moment' by The Guardian (UK), we would never have had this gem:

"Once a man said to me in bed, 'Come with me.' I thought he was inviting me to go with him to Spain."

No mention of beds in Ellen Banda-Aaku and Pius Adesanmi's responses to basic questions on the writing life put to them by their publisher, Penguin, but the answers are fascinating all the same. The two winners of the inaugural Penguin Prize for African Writing are Writers of the Month on the website of Penguin South Africa.

Both writers answer the same 10 questions. Here's how each recalled: My Earliest Memory:

Ellen Banda-Aaku
I’m about three years old, and I’m sitting at a table telling my parents about a dream I had the night before. I can’t remember what the dream was about what I do remember is them laughing so hard. The funny thing is as I grew older, till about age seven, I would actually make up stories and pass off as a dream I had just so I could tell a story.

Pius Adesanmi
Playing street football with my peers in the village and being annoyingly summoned by my father – just when the game was ‘sweetest’! – to come and read some abridged children’s version of stories from Greek mythology he just discovered in the family library. I could not for the life of me understand why Jason and his fellow argonauts had the right to leave their abode in ancient Greek memory just to come and disturb the football game of five or six-year-olds in Africa.

As it happens, Allende is one of the writers Adesanmi most admires. His book, 'You're Not A Country, Africa!' and Banda-Aaku's 'Patchwork' will be out from Penguin SA soon.
Read their answers to 10 questions here.


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