- Write your heart out and persevere, persevere, persevere!
- I grew up in Zambia surrounded by books but I was not much of a reader. I did however talk a lot and tell a lot of stories as a child. I think it was this passion for telling stories that eventually translated into writing much later in my life.
- Writing is very subjective. It is also solitary. My advice to all writers is focus and invest time in your writing. Do your homework in terms of submitting manuscripts to the right publishers etc. At the end of the day, it is your writing. It is your story and you have to take responsibility for it and not rely or expect help from anyone.
- In stories I look for originality. I am also big on characters. A story that has me thinking about a character or characters long after I have turned the last page works for me.
- I don’t dwell on regrets. There are many things in my life I could, with hindsight, have done differently but I don’t regret them. The mistakes have contributed to who and where I am today.
Read our Interview with Ellen here.
Banda-Aaku is a Zambian writer. In 2004 she won the Macmillan Writers’ Prize for Africa for Wandi’s Little Voice. Her short story, Sozi’s Box, was the overall winner of the 2007 Commonwealth Short Story Competition. Her novel Patchwork won the Penguin Prize for African Writing.
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