Why (Not) Write | Interview: Sarah Ladipo Manyika (Video)

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Sarah Ladipo ManyikaSarah Ladipo Manyika was raised in Nigeria and has lived in Kenya, France, and England. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and for several years taught literature at San Francisco State University. Sarah currently serves on the boards of Hedgebrook and the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Sarah is a Patron of the Etisalat Prize for Literature and host to OZY’s video series “Write.” Her second novel Like a Mule Bringing Ice Cream to the Sun was shortlisted for the 2016 Goldsmiths Prize. Find her online at sarahladipomanyika.com or on Facebook.


 Interview Notes

Why Write: 00:48 Sarah talks about the time and energy writing requires, and why we must have the fundamental passion to do so. 01:11

On social life: 01:18 Sarah explains why writers should have friends and family who understand the demands of their work and support them through it.

711G5dJqB6L Like-A-Mule-1On her work: 01:47 Sarah talks about writing InDependence because she couldn’t find romance/historical fiction, and writing Like A Mule because she couldn’t find stories about older immigrant women.

On finding inspiration: 02:46 She talks about finding stories in people, art and language.

On her writing process: 04:02 She talks about writing when well-rested, going out for a walk or run, and listening to music to prepare herself for writing. 05:47 She discusses writing as a community–not writing alone.

On keeping a writing journal: 06:26 Sarah explains why keeping a writing journal is helpful to her, and how it helped her break through in writing Like A Mule.

On rejections and other challenges: 07:35 Sarah talks about receiving more rejections than acceptances, why rejections don’t mean the end, and why writers should use rejections as learning opportunities. (Find more on this discourse her recent essay, What Virginia Woolf Forgot To Say.)

General writing advice: 09:16 Sarah encourages writers to be generous: to give and receive feedback amongst themselves. 10:06 She says, specifically to African writers, “There are endless stories to write.”

What next? 10:42 “All the best with writing; enjoy the process, enjoy the ride, and I look forward to reading your work in months and years to come.”


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