At 17, Sampa punches above her literary weight. Her story, The Mango Tree, is a must read and is downloadable here
A student at Crested Crane Academy, Sampa is a young literary talent to watch out for and we at Kalemba couldn’t be more proud to have discovered her.
Her story beat more than 300 entries to make it to the top six.
“Everisto did not like the person he had become. He didn’t like how he could no longer smile. The unexpected turns had dumped his soul that life had taken on him. Regret and the guilt of regretting hung heavy on his shoulders” she writes.
Her story centers around a young couple struggling with a past they can’t seem to shake off.
In an interview with Kalemba Prize, Sampa shared her writing and influences.
Tell us about yourself –
I am 17 years old, the last born of three children, all girls. I grew up in Namibia, Windhoek and went to school there, before moving to Pretoria, South Africa. We returned to Zambia in 2014, and I am currently in my final year of high school at Crested Crane Academy.
What does writing mean to you?
Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember. When I was nine, if my memory serves me right, my elder sister and I wrote a story – Sue’s Birthday – it had so many errors and lacked a proper story-line and strong characters, but I think it formed the building blocks of what I write today. Since then I have written many speeches, stories, and other pieces of writing.
What influences your writing?
When it comes to writing, specifically storytelling, the various cultures I have been exposed to influence me greatly. I often tackle issues of race, acceptance, behavior, and betrayal through my characters. Writers like Khaled Hosseini, the author of the best-selling book – A Thousand Splendid Suns – inspire me much. He produces masterpiece after masterpiece, and his consistency is something I admire. His work deserves the praise it receives and more.
What has been your most unforgettable read?
A book that has and will always stand out for me is Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. It is the first book of four, and she delivers an excellent and gripping story. What I admire most is the strength of her characters.
Why do you write?
Writing is a gift, and I feel blessed to have it. I see this gift as a way of expressing myself. To be able to make characters and have each of them carry a piece of you and see how each element of yourself affects the other is interesting.
What does it mean to be shortlisted?
It is more than I could have ever imagined. I never thought I’d make it this far and I am genuinely grateful for this platform. If it weren’t for the competition, the story I submitted might never have been told.