Barassa is a young novelist from Rwanda. She has written three novels: Teta, a story of a young girl; Victory, a story of a young boy; and Remote Dawn. Her books are published by Real Africa Books. She launched them at the Storymoja Hay Festival in Nairobi, Kenya. I talked to her about her career as an author.
When did you start writing stories?
I started writing when I was 16.
From where do you derive inspirations?
Well, from everywhere: people I meet, what I see and what I hear. Quite everything inspires me.
Do you have a favorite novelist?
Yep, I have many favorite novelists, such as DANIELLE STEEL, MARY H. CLARK, JOHN GRISHAM, NORA ROBERTS, HEINZ KONSALIK, GUY DES CARS and BARBARA CARTLAND.
So far, your three novels have been published. Which one do you like most and why?
Well, I love the three of them.
Why? Because before I wrote them I already loved them.
Which publishing house publishes your books? Tell us about it?
The publishing house is called REAL AFRICA BOOKS. It is a Swedish house and it has the aim of helping all unknown African writers. It’s like Tusker Project Fame for writers!
What can you say about reading culture in Rwanda?
Reading culture in Rwanda is still poor but I hope that in a few years it will be well developed as many Rwandans go to school these days.
What do you read for leisure?
I read Nous Deux magazine, comics – I love them! – novels of my favourite authors and every interesting book I find.
You officially launched your books at the Storymoja Hay Festival.
What can you tell us about the festival?
It was fantastic. Many authors from many parts of the world were there; from the whole of East Africa, USA, Europe. It was really great. I wish such events could take place in Rwanda and many Rwandan authors could be there.
Where do you want to be five years from now?
Well, I want to be here in my country with my own publishing house and my own psychiatric clinic [Barassa is studying to be a nurse]!
Do you have a particular message to young upcoming writers?
I would like to encourage them to keep it up! They would write and maybe not get publishing houses to publish their books, but please don’t give up. Just write and keep your books somewhere. I am sure one day they will be published!
Look at me, after seven years of keeping my writings, they are finally published! So please, keep it up!