Marie Claire (South Africa) - - READ LIVES -

I’ve al­ways wanted to tell sto­ries and to be a writer. I spent most of my time as a reader, though, be­cause I wasn’t sure how to start be­com­ing a writer – I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to do it or be as good as any of my lit­er­ary he­roes.Then I heard about the Short Story Day Africa com­pe­ti­tion that runs ev­ery year and I thought 5 000 words is a good place to start. I wrote Chicken on the train, after work, on week­ends, any time I could find out­side of my day job. It felt like a cre­ative re­lease do­ing some­thing stim­u­lat­ing. I sub­mit­ted my story and it won third prize and was pub­lished in the Feast, Famine & Potluck an­thol­ogy.Then Rachel Zadok, pub­lisher and founder of Short Story Day Africa, sub­mit­ted it for con­sid­er­a­tion in The Caine Prize For African Writ­ing com­pe­ti­tion and I was short­listed. It’s the premier prize for short fic­tion in Africa. At only 22 years old I was both hon­oured and over­whelmed – and even though I didn’t win, the win­ning was in the jour­ney.

I’ve been spurred on by an in­cred­i­ble trip to London that was part of the Short Story Day Africa prize, as well as the pos­i­tive feed­back and en­gage­ment with read­ers and writ­ers. Writ­ing has be­come more than just my side hus­tle, it’s be­come the cen­tre of my life. I still have to eat and still have a day job but I take my writ­ing more se­ri­ously and I write more of­ten. I ap­ply for writer’s res­i­den­cies, take on col­lab­o­ra­tive projects and sub­mit work to pub­li­ca­tions. I like to write about odd­i­ties, emo­tional con­flict, mod­ern Africa, travel, place­less­ness and weird love. It’s hard to put my sto­ries into a genre. I’m play­ing with dif­fer­ent styles and for­mats and try­ing to find a strong voice and cre­ate in­trigu­ing char­ac­ters. It’s chal­leng­ing but I love it. BLOUSE,



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