Sunday, October 01, 2006

Our October Author: Uzodinma Iweala

This month we offer multimedia introductions to Uzodinma Iweala, author of Beasts of No Nation.

First, a short video from WGBH (I couldn't import this to the blog -- Warning!-- It will start playing as soon as you click).  One might hope for a better interviewer, but at least one is impressed with the author's youth.  A more in depth audio interview is available from KCRW's Bookworm.  And finally, a print interview from The Morning News by Robert Birnbaum. Excerpt,
RB: Let’s talk about Beasts of No Nation. Why did you want to write this book?

UI: I guess it was really wanting to understand what the experiences of being a child soldier—which is an odd thing to say because you can’t really understand it unless you have been one. But wanting to have deeper understanding and not just—you read newspaper articles and you hear things on the news and see pictures and [say], “Oh, wow, that’s sad.” And then you move on, you know? Every so often in your life something happens and you say, “I can’t move on from this. This isn’t something I can just put to the side and say, ‘This is happening to people and I have other things to do in my existence.’” It doesn’t work like that sometimes. Those people who really contribute to society are the ones who do that all the time. They say, “This is a problem and we are not going to brush this problem aside.” So I guess, for me it was just a small step in saying, “OK, I have seen this and I can’t brush this aside. So let me take this small step to learn more and more about it.”
The contents of this author essay from Powells paralells that of the essay printed in the back of the paperback edition of the book...only written in the style of the novel, and may be of interest to those who read other editions or enjoy the cleverness of the presentation. 

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