Adulrahman ‘Abu Amirah’ Ndegwa is a Mombasa-based writer whose story was shortlisted for the Writivism Short Story Prize in 2016 with others appearing on Kalahari eview and Munyori Journal. He is the founding editor of Hekaya Initiative, a publishing platform for prose, poetry and
portraiture from the East African Coast.
He spoke to Nation.co.ke about his literary fauvorites.
Tell me the three books that excited you the most in 2017?
Elnathan John’s Born on a Tuesday, Abubakar Ibrahim’s Blossoms of the Savannah and John Medina’s Brain Rules.
Which two books do you hold so dear that they can’t possibly be lent out?
I have no qualms lending out my books provided they are returned in one piece. Two books I hold dear would be Anatomy of a Girl Gang by Ashley
Little and Brick Lane by Monica Ali. I’m a bit hesitant lending out the later, though as it’s a powerful read.
Your fauvorite childhood books? Why?
Mum made sure I read all titles in the Hardy Boys series, so I kind of fell in love with them. Fragments from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer are still etched in my memory and I recall how Tom filled us with an aching to be as adventurous and kiss our own Becky Thatchers!
If you were to dine with three writers dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Only three? I have a list of twenty! Okay, the first one would be JD Salinger mainly because I totally love TheCatcher in the Rye, a book so full of twists and surprises. As a student of psychology, I find his life fascinating too, with his choice to live in recluse.
Ray Bradburry would be the second one. His book Zen on The Art of Writing has influenced my writing immensely. Three, Yewande Omotoso.
I’ll be forever grateful for her inspiration during the Writivism online mentoring program last year. She’s a wonderful soul. Four…can I add a fourth to balance the dead-alive equation? Abubakr Adam Ibrahim.
I missed the chance to meet him at Story Moja last year. I think he is an incredible writer.
Most unforgettable character from a book?
Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye. I think Salinger gave a lot to this character and I find him very hilarious. He is youngish, this Holden chap, but lives like someone way much older. Another thing that makes him unforgettable is his close resemblance to the author.
Which book do you wish you had written and why?