‘The Story Comes With Its Own Style’ Sada Malumfashi’s First Draft

Essayist and author of ‘Zata Iya: A History of Hausa Feminist Writings’, Sada Malumfashi, has always wondered ‘how different and more diverse the stories of first-generation Hausa novels would have been if women also participated in the writing process.’

Our questions are italicized.

What books or kinds of books did you read growing up?

I grew up surrounded by Hausa literature. I learnt to read in Hausa before I knew how to read in English. My bedtime stories were tales from Abubakar Imam’s Magana Jari Ce, and when I got tired of having to wait for my father to read these stories to me, I began to learn how to read for myself. I would go on to devour all the Abubakar Imam collections in my father’s library. After, I read all the first-generation Hausa novels from the 1930s; then, as a pre-teen, I got interested in Hausa romance novels, which I could read in one sitting. During my secondary school days, I got introduced to Nigerian literature written in English, from Cyprian Ekwensi to Chinua Achebe, and this spiked my interest in other African writers. I soon discovered the works of Wole Soyinka, Abubakar Gimba, and Festus Iyayi, and the poetry of Niyi Osundare, Ken Saro-Wiwa and Christopher Okigbo.

If you could rewrite a classic book, which would it be and why?

I’d...

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