In Summary
  • Naturally, children love stories and hence will love books if they see the connection to reality.
  • First, discuss characters with the children and then let them read the books.

Clifford Chianga Oluoch considers himself a teacher first, then a writer. He is currently scouting, nurturing and grooming the next great writers from Kenya, and maybe Africa.

He's deeply passionate about students, reading, writing, libraries and books because he believes education starts and ends with the reading of quality books. Oluoch has authored a series titled The Eastlanders about growing up in Eastlands in the 70s and 80s.

He has also written Mathematics school text books and is still writing more books and training local teachers who are interested in making an impact in creative writing and reading.

Oluoch has penned the Write Like a Writer 8 book creative writing series because he intends to be part of the solution to the problem of Kenya not having a creative writing curriculum at the primary level. He spoke to www.nation.co.ke about his literary favourites.

How is it, writing for young adults in Kenya?

Challenging, given that their world is fast changing while mine is stagnant at some point.

Which two books do you hold so dear that they can’t possibly be lent out?

First, let me say that I do not cling on to books. Once I have read them, I give them out.

But Bryce Courtenay’s The Power Of One and Tandia are my top two. I am not embarrassed to say that from the time I read The Power Of One in 1994, I make a point of re-reading it every four or five years. So, I have re-read the two books five times!  And each time they look fresher.

As one who always works with children, what do you think is the best way to get them to like books?

Naturally, children love stories and hence will love books if they see the connection to reality. First, discuss characters with the children and then let them read the books.

Plus, children, without realising, are just characters in their own way.  The stunts they pull on a daily basis is great fodder for reading and writing.  Hence books with crazy characters like Captain Underpants, Horrid Henry, Moses tend to excite kids.

Tell us a little about your published books.

For fiction, I have The Eastlander Series, which are semi-autobiographical about my growing up in Eastlands in the 70s and 80s with the characters bearing people I grew up with.

I also have a few scattered short stories in anthologies. About non-fiction, I have written School text books. Eight Maths books, and now a Creative Writing one titled Write Like A Writer(to be published in a month or two).

If you were to dine with three writers dead or alive, who would they be and why?

First there is Bryce Courtenay who wrote effectively about apartheid South Africa while battling personal family issues (his son was diagnosed with AIDS).

Page 1 of 2