Abigail Arunga is the author of Akello and a Side of Raunch, both poetry collections. She runs her personal blog, akello.co.ke, and a current affairs blog on nation.co.ke and a weekly column in the Friday Daily Nation covering personalities, events and popular reviews. Abigail began her writing career as an intern for Storymoja Publishers and was previously the Digital Editor for Zuqka.com. She has also been a contributor for several local magazines such as Home and Living East Africa and Saturday Magazine. She is also a scriptwriter and has worked for award-winning soap opera Lies that Bind and continues to write for TV with shows such as How to Find A Husband and Majaribu.
We had a few questions for her and this is what she had to say.
1. Your first phone?
Lordy. Was it my mom’s old Sagem? Or my dad’s old (huge) Nokia? It was someone’s old something. The Sagem ringtone was Lambada. 😀
2. Between Facebook and Twitter, which one do you prefer? Why?
Twitter for microblogging. Facebook for questions, more personal interaction and people’s essays. And businesses like my blog and the Magunga Bookstore.
3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Alive, happy and richer.
4. Any question for us? We’ll publish our answer as well.
Lol. WHAT TOOK YOU GUYS SO LONG TO GET TO ME. I MEAN DAMN.
5. What would you do if you were president for a day?
Give away as much money as I could. The people might as well get it back.
6. What’s your favourite book & movie?
One? Are you serious? Stop. I can’t answer that except loosely. Favourite musical, My Fair Lady. Favourite animation, Aladdin. One of my favourite movies is The Princess Bride, which is a reason I’m the only person in the world who couldn’t stand Robin Wright before Wonder Woman. I have too many favourite movies. I don’t like this question.
Um book. Shit. Anything by Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. My favourite African authored books – The River and The Source, The Concubine, The Lion and the Jewel, Things Fall Apart… Ok just one? Look I didn’t agree to do this interview for exams. Ala?
7. Who or what inspired what you do now?
My inability to be particularly good at anything else lol. Also…reading a lot in my childhood, particularly the greats, he he – Francine Pascal, Sidney Sheldon, Ken Follet, Enid Blyton, JK Rowling, (who wrote Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys??), David Eddings, etc…
8. If you were to change jobs, what profession would you get into? Why?
Singing. Being a musician. It’s my second love. I still someday want to do an album. Is being rich a profession? OK, being a philanthropist. That sounds more adult, right?
9. If you had a superpower, what would it be?
Wisdom, I think. And in turn the wisdom to impart that wisdom and thus influence people with logic. Or, I would really like to be able to give people death certificates. Including myself. I just want to know when I’m gonna die. Is that too much to ask?
10. Which 5 things would you want to have if you were deserted on an abandoned island?
WIFI. I was on a not so desert island the other day and I was crawling up the walls. It’s a human right, you know.
A cruise ship that has everything else I need like food, weapons, a library etc
My family, natural and chosen, so we could make a holiday of it
I feel like I’m done…
11. If you were a car, which one would you like to be? Why?
Oof. When I was younger I really wanted/and thus would have wanted to be an SLK500 Merc, like the one in the Ashanti video. Now, I love and would want to be my car – a Toyota Cami. Low maintenance. Understanding of budgets and fuel. Hardy. Reliable. Super cute, fam. Special (they’re not making them anymore), so seasoned. Hahahahaha
12. If you could be in any band in the world, which one would it be? Why?
Gatho. Exams. Can I pick a boy band and a girl band? I’m just going to. While I really really love BSB, Nsync and Sauti Sol, Boyz II Men are my all time favourite hands down band. I don’t even care if they’re boring in person, which I worry about with BSB. Like…it wouldn’t matter.
Girl band – Spice Girls were LIFE. But irono. They worked so hard. I’m lazy. Destiny’s Child, pretty sure I can’t handle. TLC were broke and unhappy for a whiiiiiile. Maybe SWV? Jade? Sijui. I should have just stuck with Boys II Men…
13a. What is the most challenging thing about working in media?
Ugh. Getting paid on time. Getting excited about stories. People constantly calling you because of what they think you should be writing.
b. What advice would you offer to writers who would like to make a living off of freelance writing?
If you can, save before you start. If you can’t, start bugging editors early because they all take quite a while to get back to you. Start writing now, even if you’re not being paid, for yourself.
c. What’s the one thing that you love the most about living and working in Kenya?
I love Kenya. Specifically, I love Nai. Nai has a pulse like no other – and traffic too, ha. I love the way Nairobi looks and smells and comes stays alive 24/7. I love that there are opposites everywhere you look. I love that really, I think, Kenyans are trying to thrive in spite of 8-4-4, gava, unga prices, paying taxes and – well – Nairobbery.
14. Share something interesting about yourself with our readers.
What if what I think is interesting is not what others think is interesting???
I think I’m actually a shy person. My exuberance, most of the time, is to kind of cover that up and be able to function in polite company.