I recently wrote about the plight I faced as a young reader, having to turn to American and British books during my teenage years because I could not find any good books by Kenyan writers. It is therefore encouraging when I discover Kenyan authors writing books for that audience: teenagers.
Edna Gicovi, more fondly referred to as Ed, is one of these authors. Her first book, Mwende, was published in 2015 as part of the Storymoja Life Skills series.
After taking part in the Storymoja Festival in 2013, and attending a class on writing for an adolescent audience, Ed began her journey as an author. Those who attended the class were taught about aspects of story writing such as plot and character, and were expected to produce a manuscript for publishing. The stories they were to write were supposed to impart life skills to adolescents. Ed had her first draft done a few months later, despite having zero confidence that she would make the deadlines.
At the time, Ed was pursuing a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology and was worried that she would not be able to find time for her writing. Well, she did and Mwende, a book that teaches young people about relationships and making choices, was published in early 2015.
Ed has since released another book, Tone’s Big Drop, which is written for a younger audience than that of her debut novella. She created this second book at the 2017 Book Dash in South Africa. She continues to work in humanitarian mental health and on her next work of fiction.
I am excited to meet Ed at the Storymoja Festival 2017, where she will be holding a creative writing class for young people. To me, she represents possibilities. That you can write a book when you set your mind to it, despite whatever else may be going on in your life. All you need is an idea and some drive. Also, isn’t it nice to know that teenagers can get a head-start as far their writing careers are concerned? Ed’s session at the Storymoja Festival will be open to children of at least 14 years and there they can learn quite a bit about creating their own work. Oh what I would give to have had an opportunity like that!
See Storymoja Festival 2017 Program.