INSPIRING SOCIETY THROUGH STORY TELLING
Natalie Sifuma is a Kenyan writer and researcher. Her words have been featured on Kalahari Review, Paukwa Stories, Adventures From, African Writers’ Trust and most recently on Mookh Mag. Natalie was longlisted in the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize and in March 2019 she received an award for Best Short Story Writer at the 2019 Sondeka Awards. Natalie is currently working on a historical fiction novel that explores love, betrayal, and loss. The ambitious young writer started writing when she was about 10 years old. She tried exploring other forms of art and found herself back to writing. She now works as a writer.
Given that Natalie writes more nonfiction stories, Her prevalent themes are positivity and patriotism. For her fiction work, she enjoys writing about love and betrayal. Up until 2017, Natalie thought Kenya was probably one of the worst countries to live in. It was always one issue after the other in the news/on the interweb. However, when she joined Paukwa House, the task became to find/explore the untold stories that make our country great.
This caused a shift especially when she found people doing the little that they could to push Kenya forward and when she learnt about the hidden treasures around our country. As for fiction, Natalie borrows from real-life events and believes in love but she is also aware of betrayal, and that it is a huge part of humanity. Natalie does not believe in happy endings but she believes in things being linear or simply good.
“Writers exist to tell stories, whether the stories are fiction or fact-based. Sharing narratives is essential because stories are all around us.” Natalie explains. Her inspiration comes from watching people, reading stories, researching on Kenya’s history and my upbringing in life. Most recently she has been inspired by Dr. Stella Nyanzi’s brazenness. “She is defying the continent’s ‘rules’ on ‘how to be a respectful woman’ and I’m inspired to be as strong as she is, and I hope to write stories that depict this kind of woman – the one that doesn’t conform to the box society has asked her to fit into.”
Natalie hopes to be successful. She defines her success as having 4 novels published, being invited to various literary/creative forums to give her insight on what makes a good story and living (comfortably) off her writing. She has faced challenges of having self-doubt and anxiety. “To produce art and thereafter consider releasing it into the world is a daunting process. Questions like ‘will people read this?’ ‘will people enjoy this story?’ ‘is my writing good?’ run through my mind day in and out even as I consider a possible story,” Natalie says. She often gets a little nudge from a friend or two who affirm her and tell her to love her story first before thinking too much about other people. “Selfish as it may sound, you create for yourself before you create for anyone else.”
Natalie loves that she has the ability to pen down her ideas and nurture the baby that eventually becomes a story. “It is one of the most fulfilling things EVER!” Her final remark is, “If something is for you, you cannot run away from it.” She recalls words from Yvonne A. Owuor during her book launch (The Dragonfly Sea) earlier this year.
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Facebook: Natalie Sifuma
Link to one of her favorite stories that she wrote: http://bit.ly/MwitikiArt