Nafissatou Dia Diouf is a confirmed Senegalese writer who walks under the furrows of poetry, novel and youth books. A woman of literature opens up to the world with a simple but critical look. “A writer is essentially a sponge that takes its inspiration from everything around it,” says the author. Ze-Africanews.com went to meet him.
Ze-Africanews.com: How did you get to writing?
Nafissatou Dia Diouf: A writer is essentially a sponge that takes his inspiration from everything around him. I have been writing for fifteen years, by passion and vocation, and then, thanks to the encouragement of my occasional readers (my family, my relatives, my teachers) and also thanks to literary prizes, I thought to “make career, “even though writing is not my main occupation.
You say that the book is a necessary element in the child’s education, why?
The book has a playful but also educational function. This is an excellent complement to all the didactic tools that the child might find off-putting and for which he could make a rejection. The book, in particular the illustrated book, allows the child to develop his imagination, to build himself and to project himself into a future adult, while learning without noticing the notions of life. Hence the difficulty and complexity of writing for children because they do not know how to cheat. They like or do not like and prefer to go for a ball if the book they are offered is not “up to the task”.
You touch a little about everything, you wrote news, poetry and youth literature, in what kind of literature are you putting away?
Not at all! I love new experiences. I am eclectic by definition. It is true that it is easier to stay in its zones of comfort but I like the challenges and the stress (positive) that they induce. It is often by opportunity, (a proposal, an order, a contest) that I embark on a new adventure and I rarely regretted it. A writer according to my definition must be complete and at ease in several literary genres because there is so much to explore that a single life would not suffice. This avoids boredom and weariness.
In 2009 you receive the prize “best literary hope” for the Continental literary prize, what does this attention mean to you?
It is both a reward and a questioning. A questioning because my first international literary prize, I received it twelve years ago and I received many others later. I was very proud but told myself at the same time that it would be nice to go back definitively in the court of the great ones, by an even more hard work, more constant and an even better quality of my writings. Certainly, my style evolves, I dare to address subjects more serious or lighter, less conventional and my writing gradually departs from the “too literary” or “too documented”. The beginning of maturity, perhaps?
As an African woman, is the profession of writer something difficult?
I would say yes and no. Yes, because many social and family obligations weigh African women in addition to any professional obligations (as in my case) and a daily struggle to make its place. But I think we should rather approach it with serenity, thinking that we are just people who have CULTURE. BOOK things to say, with a certain sensitivity and a desire to share. Certainly, it takes a lot of work, it requires to overcome doubts and uncertainties, it requires sacrifices, especially on leisure time, but the result is very rewarding, believe me!