In this week’s session with ZAINAB ABDULLAHI of Northern Literary Forum, a writer and Midwife, Zainab Sani Malala shared her literary experience.
Zainab Sani Malala is a northern Nigerian writer in her mid-twenties. She’s engaged and the firstborn with 4 siblings.
She was born in Bauchi and of course studied from Nursery to Secondary in Bauchi
From there, she went to Gombe where she studied Midwifery at College of Nursing and Midwifery Gombe state.
She started writing when she was in JSS 1 after being a movie freak for awhile.
She is a watt pad writer and the author of; When the damage has been done and Second chance.
She’s currently working with Federal Teaching Hospital Gombe.
An excerts from the interview…
NLF: Miss Zainab, what inspired you to become a writer?
GUEST: I was inspired by books I’ve read. Some books will be so lengthy but fascinating and full of life captivating experiences that I get so curious to reach the end of it.
NLF: What are the most critical obstacles you have battled and what more are you working on?
GUEST: The most critical obstacle I’ve battled is writer’s block. At times I spend the whole day trying to figure out how the story should flow but none will seem to fit. I’ve fought the battle and I’ve won, inshallah.
I’m working on articles too, some of which are health related.
NLF: And what are the problems you are facing now since you pinned down the “writer’s block”?
Between those problems you have solved and those you are working on, which ones are more intimidating in the sense that you have tried all you can to solve them but they recurrently come back?
GUEST: I’m not facing any problem now, Alhamdulillah.
None. All have been a smooth ride Mashallah.
NLF: Are you a multi tasker or how do you cope being a writer and a midwife?
GUEST: Yes, I multi-task to some extend but I plan it in such a way that one doesn’t affect the other negatively.
I sometimes gain my ideas at work and write them down, so by the time I sit to write, I write the best out of it.
If work was less busy I write at work too but if it’s very busy, I write at home.
NLF: How do you feel when your works are criticized?
GUEST: I feel excited because I believe not a single work can progress without criticism.
NLF: Miss Zainab, disappearance of Kainene in Chimamanda’s Half of a yellow sun really pissed me off, do you have any book that the ending lives you shattered?
GUEST: None really, I’ve loved how they all were. Just that some part of me will be whispering I can do better on this line.
NLF: What is that writing experience you can never forget?
GUEST: All my experiences were amazing that I wish to remember them every day.
NLF: What do you find harder between starting a book with a high energy, keeping the story going with a similar electrifying energy of the story and making an excellent conclusion?
And why do you find the other(s) easier?
GUEST: Keeping the story going is harder for me because I know for me to keep my story intrigued, I need to do more and add all the necessary flavours.
The other two were easier because it’s just much simpler for me to begin and end a story.
NLF: What is that one thing you think distinguish you from other writers?
GUEST: I’m unique from others because I’m me.
NLF: Which do you prefer between fiction and nonfiction and why?
GUEST: Non-fiction, because it makes me dive in my ocean of imaginations and experiences. I try to let out the voices that keep calling on me to let them out.
NLF: Miss Zainab, who is your favorite author?
GUEST: I’ve none actually. I love all of them for they have contributed in my life one way or the other.
NLF: What do you think every writer should bear in mind?
GUEST: Every writer out there should bear in mind that nobody should stop you from writing what exactly you have in mind.
Don’t be scared of what anyone might think of you.
Stand up and make a difference while you’ve got the chance.
You are spacial no matter what they say.
NLF: Who is your role model and kindly brief us about the person?
GUEST: My role models are my parents. They are Alhaji Sani and Hajiya Amina
They took care of me and stood by me in this journey so far.
They contributed immensely in all my career and always encouraged me to do more.
May Allah bless our parents and reward them with Jannah, Amin.
NLF: It was stated in your bio that you started writing since when you were in JSS1, what were you writing then?
GUEST: It was a book I never got the chance to publish. The title is One Step At A Time.
NLF: Ma’am, like you said here, you were inspired by books you’ve read. Pls can you state out some of them here?
We might also need such books to keep our dream flowing.
GUEST: Well, the books I’ve read are of various kinds. Not all are fiction but some are:-
Don’t be Sad
The men and women around the prophet SAW
Two to Tango( a play)
Out of his mind
The Devil’s son
Mother’s choice and more
NLF: Miss Zainab, which book are you currently reading and what’s that one book you will recommend for everyone to read at least once in a life time?
GUEST: I’m not reading any book at the moment.
Everyone has a taste to what he/she likes best so I can’t recommend any book to anyone.
Just make sure you read what your heart settles with.
NLF: To crown it all, what advice do you have for aspiring writers out there?
GUEST: For aspiring writers out there, they should know that writing is a world of freedom. They get to express themselves without being judged.
They should write because they want to not because someone else is doing it.
They should write to make a difference.
What ever you do, you should do it right.
NLF: Thank you for honoring our invitation and sharing your literary experience with us, we really appreciate.
We wish you the best in all your endeavors.