Lillian Akampurira Aujo is a writer. She was the first winner of the BN Poetry Award in 2009. She is a member of Uganda Women Writers Association. She talked to Beatrice Lamwaka.
What motivates you to read fiction?
Fiction is a portrayal of real life and it is makes me feel deeply connected with the characters. I am a curious person, so reading fiction for me is a way to know what is going on in the world, Human nature is diverse and there is a lot of conflict in the world so reading harnesses your skills in handling all these.
I travel the world through fiction and I enjoy learning about other people’s culture, food and experience.
Which books must you have in your shelf?
I have a dictionary, the Bible, and poetry collections. For some reason I always find something new in these books, so I revisit them a lot. I do not usually do it for novels, but of recent, I read one which made me feel like there were things I might have missed. So I think I should get myself a copy of The God of Small Things by Arundathi Roy, it has so many layers. With this book, I feel like I haven’t comprehended everything in the first reading and I will read again to get another aspect of the story.
Which writer can’t you get enough of?
I read Leila Aboulela’s short story, The Museum, which won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2000 and I fell in love with her writing. I started to look out for whatever she had written and I found another short story, Amulet and Feathers, which I also love.
Then I read her novel, The Translator and I am now reading The Minaret. She is a great writer who makes every day events worth reading. I am picky, emotional and sucker for love and I am sure that Abouleila would make me an interesting character to read and empathises with. I will learn more about myself.
If you had a few hours to live, which book would you read?
I would read, again, So Long a Letter by Mariama Ba. It is beautifully written, simple to understand, and it is short, written as a long letter.
And I admire the courage of Mariama to have written about the condition of women in Senegal at a time when the literary scene was filled with so many men. This book shows how men are selfish. I wasn’t impressed by any male character in the book.
Which books would you like to read?
I need to get my hands on One Day I Will Write About This Place by Binyavanga Wainana, because I’d like to know what the author of the controversial article How to Write about Africa has written, and also because he is one of the African contemporary writers. As a writer, I am a selective reader and I choose books that I can learn from.
I would also like to read Ama Ata Aido’s The Girl Who Can and Other Stories and Bessi Head books because I have heard so much about them.
Which books are you reading?
I am reading The Personal History of Racheal DuPree by Ann Weisgarber which was shortlisted for the prestigious Orange Prize for New Writers and I want to know what makes this book stand out. I am also reading The Minaret by Leila Aboulela.