Kwani? Litfest 2012 • Nairobi

Ghanian writer Kojo Laing talks softly but with emphasis. Every word comes from the heart and touches the heart of the audience. It’s the most generous and honest presentation I have heard in many years.

It’s like a curse, he says about writing. He can’t stop. He has tried to stop, but he just can’t.

Coming from a Christian family in Ghana, his father was a priest, and with all his five siblings working within the church, he is the only one being a writer and also in pressing doubt in faith, something that is also topics in many of his books. He leans forward in his chair, looks over the audience, hitting his chest with his hand and asks, insisting on the honesty of this question: Am I a fool? Am I crazy having this doubt? Can anyone in the room say that they are anywhere near the doubt I have?

His writing is anything but a simple process, he tells us. One of the books took eight years to write. He wanted to write Ghanian and English, not for the sake of it, but because he wanted to squeeze out the English from the Ghanian languages. With his hands he shows us the guesture of thoroughly and hard squeezing water from wet laundry. And that took time. He picks up the book, shows it, and looks at it, exhausted. And goes quiet.

He answers each question posed by Kwani Trust Chairman Tom Maliti sometimes with a big smile of a question that he founds on the spot, then continues with a story and sometimes ends abruptly. The room gets quiet a short second before a new line of thought is unfolded.

Kojo Laing is like a ghost in his own country, he describes his situation. His books are mainly published outside of Ghana. But on the question if he would rather write something else, if he got the chance to re-do things, something less controversial that sold many, many copies of his books and made him more famous, his answer is distinct and clear. He couldn’t write anything else. This is what he writes.

A young woman raises her hand and asks what he suggests a young writer should think about pursuing a career as a writer?

Be yourself, is his first answer. Read as much as your brain can contain. The more you read, the more complex you become. And it applies to experience as well. Paradoxical experience. Encourage many identities. It will be needed as the world goes smaller.

And he adds and laughs: And when you get advices you reject them.

Kwani? Litfest 2012 is a yearly literature festival run by Kwani Trust in Nairobi. This year the theme is Conversations with the Horn. Writers, artists in exchange.

Leave a Reply

Authors

Lotta Lekvall
Director of Nätverkstan, a Cultural Organisation in Sweden. Nätverkstan provides services …

Cultural and Social Entrepreneurship

On this blog we would like to explore entrepreneurship from a cultural and social point of view. Or rather put forward entrepreneurial initiatives within these two fields.

Search

Share

Archive

  1. april 2015,
  2. mars 2015,
  3. februari 2015,
  4. januari 2015,
  5. december 2014,
  6. november 2014,
  7. oktober 2014,
  8. september 2014,
  9. augusti 2014,
  10. juli 2014,
  11. juni 2014,
  12. maj 2014,
  13. april 2014,
  14. mars 2014,
  15. februari 2014,
  16. januari 2014,
  17. december 2013,
  18. november 2013,
  19. oktober 2013,
  20. september 2013,
  21. augusti 2013,
  22. juli 2013,
  23. juni 2013,
  24. maj 2013,
  25. april 2013,
  26. mars 2013,
  27. februari 2013,
  28. januari 2013,
  29. december 2012,
  30. november 2012,
  31. oktober 2012,
  32. september 2012,
  33. augusti 2012,
  34. juli 2012,
  35. juni 2012,
  36. maj 2012,
  37. april 2012,
  38. mars 2012,
  39. februari 2012,
  40. januari 2012,
  41. december 2011,
  42. november 2011,
  43. oktober 2011,
  44. september 2011,
  45. augusti 2011,
  46. juli 2011,
  47. juni 2011,
  48. maj 2011,
  49. april 2011,
  50. mars 2011,
  51. februari 2011,
  52. januari 2011,
  53. december 2010,
  54. november 2010,
  55. oktober 2010,
  56. september 2010,
  57. augusti 2010,
  58. juli 2010,
  59. juni 2010,
  60. maj 2010,
  61. april 2010,
  62. mars 2010,
  63. februari 2010,
  64. januari 2010,
  65. december 2009,
  66. november 2009,
  67. oktober 2009,
  68. september 2009,
  69. augusti 2009,
  70. juli 2009,
  71. juni 2009,
  72. maj 2009,
  73. april 2009,
  74. mars 2009,
  75. februari 2009,
  76. januari 2009,
  77. december 2008,
  78. november 2008,
  79. oktober 2008,
  80. september 2008,
  81. augusti 2008,
  82. juli 2008,
  83. juni 2008,
  84. maj 2008,
  85. april 2008,

Links

www.natverkstan.net

www.kulturverkstan.net

www.globalverkstan.net

www.nyabalylon.wordpress.com

www.ted.com

www.isk-gbg.org/99our68

www.encatc.org

www.eurozine.com

www.nurope.eu

www.kulturekonomi.se

www.firstdraft.it

http://levapasinkonst.wordpress.com