Books They Read: Derek Lubangakene

Derek Lubangakene is an author and poet. His has poetry been published in The Proposal, an anthology Black Rainbow Poetry. His poetry has also been published online in Kalahari Review. Courtesy Photo.

What you need to know:

Although Derek Lubangakene trained as a procurement officer, his passion is writing fiction. He is currently working on his second fantasy book. He also writes poetry, and has been published in The Proposal, an anthology Black Rainbow Poetry. Recently he was listed for the Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books for his story, Of Ghosts and Grave-Robbers. He is an avid reader and a blogger. He spoke to Beatrice Lamwaka.

How did you start reading books and why do you still read?
I read a lot of comic books growing up. When you’re young, comic books and magical adventures provide a means to escape your reality. This is why children children have invisible friends like superman and batman. As you grow up, reading stops being about trying to escape your reality but more about trying to find points of intersection between fiction and reality. I continue to read because I want to better understand the mechanics of our immediate world.

Who is your favorite childhood literary character or hero?
Ralph from William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. I liked Ralph because he was the ideal leader. When the boys landed on uninhabited island, they were all scared and didn’t know what to do. He suggested the large fire, and the conch for speaking, and his bully relationship with Piggy and the rivalry with Jack made him the most interesting character. He was easy to root for.

What’s your favorite book of all time?
I go through at least forty books a year, if you read widely enough, you can never have an all-time favourite book. Good books are like sets of twins, you’re not supposed to have a favourite.

If you could meet any literary character, who would it be?
Rorschach (Alan Moore’s Watchmen), and Zarathustra (Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra). There’s a fine line between ugly truth and madness, and these two characters weren’t afraid to stand up for what they believed was the truth. With the world’s current state of affairs, we need more madmen like them to peel the mask off our prejudices.

What are some of the Ugandan novels you have read?
Sadly, the only major piece of Ugandan literature I’ve ever read is Okot p’Bitek’s Song of Lawino. We’re slowly losing our African origins, and this book is a slap-in-the-face reminder that black is beautiful.

If you could require your pastor to read one book, what would it be?
God Debris by Scott Adams. Although it is based on the Occam’s Razor philosophy, the simplest explanation is the truest, there’s no simple explanation here. This book will spin your brain inside your skull. Definitely not for anyone uncomfortable with new ideas or having their religious prejudices questioned.