This month, we interview two past winners of the competition, Nicola Coady from South Africa and Mark Mngomezulu from Swaziland. Coady, (pictured), won our September 2013 competition with her short story, Obio, about a man who embarks on a journey to the town of Boje in search of a cure for his ailment. Mngomezulu’s story, The Village Breadman, won the competition in October 2013.
Born in 1949 in Kinshasa, Zepherin Ebonzo holds degrees from the University Cheik Anta Diop, (Dakar University), University of Louvain (Belgium), and New York University (USA). For 23 years until 2003, he worked for AT&T, Lucent Technologies and Agere Systems in the areas of systems analysis, programming, database management, internal auditing, and international finance. Since then, he’s been a consultant in systems analysis and financial management for various clients, including AT&T International Network Operations, UN/FAO Iraq Mission in Amman Jordan, Stainless Integrated Fabricators, Integrated Ticketing and Billing Systems, and FEDEX Network Operations. He currently lives in Forks Township/Easton in the state of Pennsylvania, USA. In this interview, he talks about becoming a writer and what inspired his most recent book.
A 2013 Etisalat Prize for Literarure flash fiction category winner, Uche Okonkwo has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Manchester, UK. Her short stories have been published in print anthologies and online. Uche lives in Lagos, Nigeria, where she once worked as an editor at a small publishing firm. She currently divides her time between working for an art auction house, writing fiction, and writing and editing freelance. She shares some of her writing on her blog, and is working on a collection of short stories. Okonkwo talks about her writing in this interview with our contributor, Geoff Gyasi.
Ishmael Beah is a Sierra Leonean author and human rights activist who rose to fame with his acclaimed memoir, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. His first novel, Radiance of Tomorrow, was published in January 2014. Beah was born in Sierra Leone in 1980. He moved to the United States in 1998. In 2004 he graduated from Oberlin College with a B.A. in political science. He is a member of the Human Rights Watch Children’s Rights Division Advisory Committee and has spoken before the United Nations, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and many other NGO panels on children affected by the war. His work has appeared in VespertinePress and LIT magazine. In this interview with Diane Ndaba, he talks about his writing and growing up in Sierra Leone.
Ozimede Sunny Ekhalume is a Nigerian author, who has just released his book, Larondo and the Arodan, a children’s story that depicts a day in the life of a young boy in a West African village. A trained pharmacist, Ozimede also holds an MBA in marketing. He currently lives in Lagos. Africa Book Club interviewed […]
Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor was born in Kenya and currently lives in Brisbane, Australia. An acclaimed writer, Owuor won the prestigious Caine Prize for African Writing in 2003 with her short story, Weight of Whispers. Last month, she released her new novel, Dust, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Owour is also a past recipient of the Iowa Writer’s Fellowship and her work has appeared in McSweeney’s and other publications. She has been a TEDx Nairobi speaker and a Lannan Foundation resident. In 2004, she was named ‘Woman of the Year’ by Eve Magazine in Kenya. Africa Book Club had the pleasure of interviewing her recently.
Based in Botswana, Lauri Kubuitsile is an award-winning writer, who has published several books, including three children’s books, three romance novels, two detective novellas and three short story collections. Her short story, ‘In the spirit of McPhineas Lata’ was shortlisted for the 2011 Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2007, she received the Orange Botswerere Award for Creative Writing, presented by the Botswana Ministry of Youth and Culture. She also won the BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story contest the same year. She is also a two-time winner of the Golden Baobab Prize, given annually to the best children’s stories from Africa. In this interview with Africa Book Club, she talks about her writing life.
Kenyan author Stanley Gazemba is best known for his book, The Stone Hills of Maragoli, which won Kenya’s top literary prize, the Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature in 2003. He is currently a regional editor with an organization called Music in Africa (www.themusicinafricaproject.net) and a content specialist with www.kwetuu.com – a website that plans to sell short stories and poems as downloads to people’s phones. In this interview with Africa Book Club, he talks about his childhood and his writing.
Gloria D. Gonsalves comes from Korogwe, Tanzania, where she lived for 27 years before migrating to Europe. She spent some time in Ireland before moving to Germany, where she currently resides. She enjoys writing poetry and tales for children and adults. The author of several books, she recently talked to Africa Book Club about her writing and how she came to rekindle her interest in African literature.
In 2004, Ugandan entrepreneur Andrew Rugasira founded Good African Coffee, with a vision to become the first African to collect, roast, market, and sell quality coffee direct to supermarkets globally. By his example, Rugasira hoped to demonstrate that trade, not aid, was a viable, sustainable strategy for driving Africa’s economic and social development. Good African Coffee had its first breakthrough, when the company launched its roast and ground coffees in South Africa through the Shoprite Checkers supermarket chain. In 2005, Waitrose became the first UK supermarket chain to list Good African roast and ground coffees. The following year, the company’s coffees were listed in Sainsburys. Today, the company supports more than 14,000 farmers and gives 50 percent of its net profits back to the community through investing in sustainable community empowerment projects. Rugasira’s remarkable entrepreneurial journey is captured in his book, A Good African Story A Good African Story: How a Small Company Built a Global Coffee Brand, out this year. In this interview with the Africa Book Club, he talks about his experience, the challenges he experienced, and what he learned.