Sunday, June 7, 2009

'Shut up and write': Sigauke (BBM)

Three adjectives that best describe you

Flexible, compassionate, open

What will a book about your life be called?

The Event

Which talent would you most like to have?

I always dreamt I was a soccer champion, but I have been happy with writing since turning thirteen.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


What is the last thing you read that made you laugh?

Petina Gappah’s Mupandawana Dancing Champion

What is the worth of a book?


You are Obama for a day, what would you do?

Look at the mirror and tell my image, “Let’s go out there and change the world.”

How does being a Zimbabwean influence your writing?

That’s what enables my writing. I believe that by writing I am exercising what it means to be Zimbabwean; my work anchors on my Zimbabwean identity.

When is the best time to write for you?

I have no specific time, although I stay up late at night, reading and writing.

What is your most treasured possession?

My poetry publication, 'Forever Let Me Go'; but seriously, my mind.

What is the book that changed your life?

Actually, it’s a novel called Burr, by the historical American novelist Gore Vidal. That was the first literary novel I ever read in rural Zimbabwe. It brings back fresh memories, and I remember expressions that I thought were funny then, like, “he had a mouth like a fish’s” or “He had snake eyes.” It was just funny, and I started applying similar expressions in my composition and my teachers rewarded me well.

What inspires your writing?

The complexity of human life; the beauty and ugliness of our world.

What is your advice to young writers?

Shut up and write.

Define literature in a sentence

Works of art that strive to express a deep meaning of the human condition.

How will you introduce your child to literature?

He has already been introduced: read, read, read. My twelve-year-old has already read Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, and we sometimes discuss The Sound and the Fury. He loves the Benjy perspective of the story. He also carries Things Fall Apart in his back pack.

What part of the process of writing do you enjoy most?

Revision, which is what I am doing presently. I have written so much content in the past fifteen years, but much of it is just creativity, now I am perfecting the craft and voice.

Who are your favorite writers?

All of them; I really value every voice, and I regret having focused too much on what school literary syllabi prescribed. My favorite writers: Okay, fine-- Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, D.H. Lawrence, Thomas Hardy the poet, Dambudzo Marechera, James Joyce, W.B Yeats, Arundhati Roy, Kazuo Ishiguro, lately Chekhov, Franz Kafka…why even bother? There are just too many to list.

Favourite blog post

“The Pitfalls of Self-publishing”

Why do you write?

I don’t know how not to be a writer anymore; I am stuck.

What book are you reading at the moment?

Because I am trying to discover the purest form of the short stories, I am reading a minimum of fifteen authors, such as Anton Chekhov (three of his collections), Petina Gappah, James Joyce (Dubliners), Henry James, William Faulkner, Best American Short Stories 2007, Best American Short Stories 1997, Contemporary African Short Stories, edited by Achebe, Contemporary South African Short Stories, Nadine Gordimer, Chimamanda Adichie and a whole horde of craft books. You should see me moving from one room with a pile of books. I have to read as much as I can before my summer class begins on June 22.

What is the strangest research you’ve done?

To discover the psychology of cockroaches for a short story which was published by Horizon Magazine. It portrays a frustrated teacher who sets aside a whole afternoon to fight with the roaches in his room with his bare hands.

What is your philosophy of life?

Live responsibly, seek and establish a purpose for your life. Then laugh for no reason.

Emmanuel Sigauke runs a very interesting blog here.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations to your kid, and to you,
    p.s.: don't panic... it will become worse, :-)