DAY JOB: SIDE HUSTLE:
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,