Celebrating East African Writing!
Abigail Arunga describes herself as “a passive aggressive narcissistically inclined writer who hopes her dreadlocks will one day grow to the length of Maxi Priest’s hair despite her dear mother’s greatest hopes.”
She aims to someday have a lot more money than she does now by writing hella lot/winning the lottery/forcing as many people as she possibly can to buy her book.
Somehow, in the midst of this madness, she has managed to write and/or be an editor for Spielworks Media, Storymoja Publishers, Nation Media Group, DRUM and Home and Living Magazines, All Woman, Young Africa Live and StoryLab, and supposedly stay sane.
Akello is her first book.
We had a little chat with Abigail about her writing life:
1. How and when did you start writing?
I started as soon as I figured out how to. One of my earliest memories is of me and my best friend putting together an alphabet book to help kids who couldn’t spell learn to. How? I am a reader – always have been. Books have always lined my parents’, and now my, household. And apparently, it helped, that, you know, I hear, so I’m told, or whatever, I was a very smart child, lol.
2. Tell us about your writing routine?
Writing routine? What writing routine? What madness has a routine? Ei. I don’t know what that means. I don’t understand the question, your honour…
3. How has writing affected your life in general?
Well. I’m living off my book so it is paying for my champagne tastes with beer money. Someday the two will align and we will walk off into an expensive sunset together. I live off my writing. Be it my articles for Nation or my personal blog (which got me my first ever job) or my tweets, even! Or the scripts I write for (award-winning) TV shows, I try and make money with one of the (many, ha! ha!) things I am good at.
But even above and beyond that, I live my writing. When I stop writing, I, stop. Can I hear somebody say free therapy?
4. Tell us about your books.
My bookS? I like that you have decided I have more than one lakini zinacome. Promise. My first and only book so far is called Akello. It is an anthology of very mushy poetry, and it is a labour of love, both literally and figuratively; I love the poems in there, and they are mostly about love. My next book – I’ve been perpetuating a rumour about a short form erotica chapbook, maybe with the hopes that I’ll create enough hype about it to convince myself to actually do it, as if my mother wasn’t scandalized enough by the (relatively) tame (sensual) poems in the first anthology. Then on the complete other side of the spectrum, I need to do an anthology of (rather entertaining and angst-filled) poetry I wrote in high school. #entertainment #childhood #heartsOnSleeves
5. What is the one piece of advice you would give to any writer?