Zainab Aminu Garba is promising young writer from Bauchi State. She started writing after reading Zainab Alkali’s novel, Stillborn. She has featured in an anthology of New Nigerian Short Stories entitled, Telling Our Stories published by the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Kano State Branch. In this interview with ZAHARADDEEN IBRAHIM KALLAH, the writer speaks about her writing and women writings in Nigeria:
Who is Zainab Aminu?
Zainab Aminu Garba is simply a down to earth person that has passion for reading and writing. I’m from Katagum local government, Bauchi State. I attended Federal Government College Azare and proceeded to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, where I studied Biology Education.
When and how do you start writing?
I started writing right after my secondary school and that was in 2001.
What time do you write in a day?
I write whenever an idea comes into my head.
As a writer and civil servant, are you experiencing a role clash?
No, I don’t.
Which authors do you think have influenced you?
Zaynab Alkali influenced my writings. I read her book the “Stillborn”. Even before I finished reading her book, I was determined to write. I was like, if she can do it, what will stop me from doing it? Moreover, she’s a northerner like me.
You have featured in an anthology of new Nigerian short stories, entitled, ‘Telling Our Stories’ published by ANA Kano. Is this the first anthology you have featured in?
Yes, it was my first time of featuring in it.
What contribution do you believe the anthology will render to the Nigerian literature?
I am certain, it will boost the literature world, as well encouraging young writers like me that they can do it and they will do it.
Young writers are looking for publishers who can get their works published, but they find it difficult to enjoy their services. What do you think are the major reasons?
I think is always money problem.
Are you a member of any writers’ association?
No I am not. I don’t know any writers’ association in Bauchi.
How do you consider the works of the contemporary female writers in Nigeria? They are really trying, because our numbers are increasing, and that is very promising.
What contributions do you think female writers have offered in the development of Nigerian literature?
Early writers, like Nana Asma’u and Zaynab Alkali among others, have made tremendous efforts in Nigeria literature, because they gave a lot of courage to potential writers, especially the northerners. Moreover, these female writers do not encourage only female writers, but male writers have been motivated too. They gave them courage. It’s just like those women did it, what is going to stop me as a man, and before you know, more men are writing. Nevertheless, these wonderful women with their works have made more writers, there by boosting the world of literature.
Generally, the voices of female writers from the north are very low, what do you think are the reasons behind such?
Their voices low because of lack of encouragement. On the other hand, there’s always money problem too, and sometimes, someone could be having a good story stuck somewhere but don’t know what steps to take next. Therefore, to discourage this kind of thing, awareness should be created to let know every potential writer how to accomplish his or her dream.
Are you writing in your mother tongue?
No, I write in English.
Currently, Senator Shehu Sani is sponsoring a bill on the National Endowment Funds for Arts at the National Assembly. If this bill is passed, how well do you think Nigerian writers would benefit from it?
Firstly, I would like to show my appreciation for the senator’s consideration into the literature world affairs. I think through funding anthologies, it would give opportunity to young writers to see that their works are being acknowledged, and those with financial problems through the collective publication can get their works published.
What advice do you have for the young people who aspire to become writers?
Don’t appoint a day to start writing; if you do that, the day will never come. And be optimistic that you will make it.
Are we expecting new books from you?
Yes, Insha Allah. I have a collection of short stories and a number of novels which I wish to publish in the nearest future.