Ellen Banda-Aaku was the Winner of the Penguin Prize for African Writing 2010 – Fiction
Date of Birth: 6 May 1965
Date: 10 September 2010
The Book: Patchwork (Penguin Books South Africa)
1. Who is your favourite hero of fiction?
I don’t have the one. Generally, characters that are portrayed as real and learn from their experiences tend to be my hero’s of fiction.
2. What is your most treasured possession?
My collection of photographs, through them I can ‘see’ my history and relive memories.
3. Which living person do you most dislike?
A political leader who has made decisions that have destroyed his country and negatively affected the majority of his people, whilst he continues to live affluently. The height of selfishness!
4. What is your greatest fear?
The thought of living through a war or a natural disaster.
5. Who or what has been the greatest love of your life?
6. What is your greatest regret?
I don’t dwell on regrets. There are many things in my life I could, with hindsight, have done differently but I don’t regret them. The mistakes have contributed to who and where I am today.
7. If you could choose to be a character in a book, who would it be?
Cinderella – I would be guaranteed a happy ending.
8. Which book have you read the most in your lifetime?
Maya Angelou’s, I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe is a close second, as a text regularly prescribed for literature; I have come across it often.
9. What is your favourite Journey?
Any journey taking me to a place I want to go.
10. What do you value most in a friend?
11. What quality do you admire most in a woman?
Beauty – on the inside and the outside.
12. Which book that you’ve written is your favourite?
My first one. A book for early teens titled, Wandi’s Little Voice, and published by Macmillan Education UK in 2004
13. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write your heart out and persevere, persevere, persevere!
14. What are your favourite names?
My sister’s name Zilaya, and my niece’s name Yaleka. They’re both names from Malawi my father’s country of origin.
15. What do you do as a hobby?
I enjoy reading, writing, listening to music.
16. What are your top 3 books?
- The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
- A Distant Shore by Caryl Philips
- Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
17. Dogs/cats which do you prefer?
Interviewer: Amanda Patterson
10 September 2010