BOOKS THEY READ: Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva

Saturday December 12 2009

By Beatrice Lamwaka

Beverley Nambozo Nsengiyunva is a mother and the founder of the Beverley Nambozo Poetry Award for women. She serves on the Uganda Women Writers’ Association (Femrite) executive board. She is working on Un Do me – a poetry collection and 50 Purley Avenue – her first novel.

What and why do you read?
I read a lot of fiction, creative nonfiction from African authors, the Bible, online news and facebook messages.

Who is your favourite author?
I do not have a single favourite author but I really like Maeve Binchy and Elechi Amadi. There are others who are not my favourite but have written excellent books that I like; Chimamanda Adichie, Wole Soyinka and Roy Arundhati. I read because I want to learn, laugh, be educated, to be counselled and to keep my wits about me.

What inspired you to start reading?
The fact that reading gave me good grades, it staved off boredom and helped me stay a class above the majority who do not read.

Any favourite quote?
My two favourite quotes are "Each one of us is a volcano. Some active, some dormant and some extinct." I made this one up. And, "Our greatest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure," by Marianne Wilson, which was later refined by Nelson Mandela.

Where do you buy your books?
Fareeds second hand bookstore at Ntinda Shopping Mall, Femrite, and I also buy when I travel or send people who travel abroad.

How long does it take you to complete a book?
Depends on the content actually, usually two or three days.

Do you use a dictionary while reading?
Sometimes, yes. Some words are too difficult for me to understand even within the context.

What kind of reading material do you carry while travelling?
Light material, magazines and children's stories.

When was the last time you bought a book and which one was it?
I bought a book last month for my one year old daughter called My mum is Fantastic by Nick Butterworth.

Is reading as important as writing to you?
I've never thought about this. I think writing trumps reading and I am very aware that they both need each other in the literary eco-system.

How many books do you read at a go?
Usually one, unless I am in a crazy time crisis.

Which book are you reading at the moment?
Family by California Cooper, about a generation of black families born into slave trade in America.

Where do you read from?
Everywhere, in my bedroom, living room, bathroom, taxi, shopping mall, bank, plane, etc.

At what time do you read?
Usually, early morning and evening.

Have you ever written any book?
I have an incomplete manuscript.

Do you have a personal library?
Yes, I do. Not very impressive yet but I treasure it.

Biographies and novels, what do you prefer?
I like them both really. Some biographies are so unbelievably awesome and so are some novels.

Have you ever bought a book for anyone? Which one was it?
I bought English to Luganda for my cousin who lives abroad. I also bought The Road to Success for my husband. I've bought children's books for my daughter too and the list goes on.

What’s the longest you have gone without reading a book?
Several months.

Have you ever read a book half way and not completed it?
Loads of times, especially when the books are boring.

What do you think of audio books?
I think it's super because then, I can listen while doing many other things and, many people can be a part of the book as well. It is great for teachers to use as a learning tool as well.

Does what you read resound in your mind?
If it’s important, yes it does. For example, a particular Bible verse in the morning will resound all day to be meaningful in my life.