Some people are skilled writers. Others are gifted storytellers. Peter Nawa is both.
With several awards and a book under his name, meet one of Zambia’s literary raw talent. His short story, A Degree of Alone shortlisted for the 2018 Kalemba prize is in one word, incredible! If you haven’t read it yet, do so as a matter of urgency – its downloadable here.
A degree of alone tells a story of Jojo, a first-grader who discovers he is different on the first day at school. A heart-rending story – beautiful, sad and funny all in one. It explores with subtlety the inherent discrimination and isolation of others by society because they are different.
“Jojo sat in awkward silence, trying to figure out what to do next. He had never seen so many children in one space before” writes Nawa. “Can we see your hands?” a girl with thick braids asked. Jojo found this request odd but somehow found himself stretching his hands toward the band of girls, as if waiting to receive a birthday present.”
Nawa, an alumnus of UNZA and University of Sussex, is also a Chartered Accountant. He runs a blog – Diary of a Frustrated Brotha – discussing mental illness, gender violence, and alcoholism among others. His book Hired – Find the Job, Keep the Job and Quit the Job – is available on Amazon.
Asked about his writing influences, “I would say it’s my father, who encouraged me to read from an early age. Then from there, I tried to write stories similar to what I was reading. Also, the books I read influence my writing” he said.
A John Grisham enthusiast “His novels almost made me study law. The way he weaves his stories always intrigues me.”
He names Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart by as the book that left an indelible mark on him.
Nawa is working on his first novel.