‘My Reading Interests Are Eclectic.’ Ayisha Osori's First Draft

Author of A Pair of Broad Bottoms’, Boetumelo Julianne Nyasulu, considers writing as a form of worship. ‘I truly feel closest to God when I write. Like it’s exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m transported somewhere, and hours go by.’

First Draft is our interview column, featuring authors and other prominent figures on books, reading and writing.

Our questions are italicized.

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

Anything I could get my hands on. My mum used to have certain times during the day when books were banned; otherwise, I’d end up eating while holding my book above my plate. I only started reading African/Black fiction much later in my childhood; unfortunately, not many educational systems or institutional libraries promoted those books when I was growing up. So, when I was young, I read a lot of fantasy fiction; I loved being transported into another world. I read books like Holes by Louis Sachar, The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, the Eragon trilogy, the Inkheart trilogy, the Series of Unfortunate Events (loved the witty humour), the Twilight series, Nancy Drew series—honestly anything that was a series was a catch because it would take longer to end.

I also read a lot of literature assigned by school or recommended by English teachers: Shakespearean novels, The Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies, Oliver Twist, Animal Farm, The Great Gatsby, Cry The Beloved Country and others. As well as Christian fiction—my favourites were Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan and Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. In fact, I think Redeeming Love may have been the first book I felt my heart strings pulled with; it was a fictional take of the story of Hosea in the bible and a portrayal of God’s unconditional, all-consuming love for us.

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