AWAAL GATA poses six questions to a budding poet, writer, motivator, matchmaker, chef and phone photographer, Zainab Abdullahi.
She specializes in writing poems, essays, short stories and motivational quotes. She has featured in many anthologies and currently compiling her first.
She hails from the northern part of Nigeria, a member of Hilltop creative arts foundation and a current dental student.
If she’s not writing, she’s either cooking or taking pictures of nature.
How did you become a writer?
After leaving secondary school, I did not gain admission into tertiary institution early, so I used the period of staying at home to read books. I started with reading Hausa novels before proceeding to books written in English.
While in secondary school, I was a storyteller. I was always telling my friends stories of the movies I watched during holidays. I was always sharing ideas with them. At home, I wrote reviews of the books I read and sometimes sat my siblings down to tell them the stories. That was the beginning of my literary journey.
Writing became my love when I felt so passionate about scribbling down my thoughts irrespective of my challenges.
Between when you started and now, what growth have you had?
I am a science student. I never attended literature classes. I was only using the knowledge tapped from my English teachers to guide me, yet I was not where I wanted to see myself. However, between then and now, I have learnt a lot regarding literature which has really shaped my writing.
What do you want to achieve as a writer?
As a writer, I want to publish as many books as possible and also tutor others to follow my trail, especially teenage girls.
Who were your biggest influencers and why?
In creative writing, Zaynab Alkali has been a great influence. Her first book I read was, “The Invisible Borders”. My elder sister gave it to me to read and feed her with a review which I did.
So when is the world going to read a book written by you?
Once I get a sponsor or when I am financially stable, I won’t think twice before publishing a book. I have five completed stories and a collection of poems in my archive.
What are the challenges you have been facing as a writer?
The most critical challenge I have battled and still battling is writer’s block and also figuring out what my audience will welcome. At times I spend days trying to figure out how the story/poem should flow but none would seem to fit. As time goes on, I came to realize that writer’s block is a normal thing. It has come to stay so I just try to figure out what works for me.