Who is Nadia Maddy?

Jun 12, 2019 by Jemila Pratt, in Uncategorized
Spotlight on Nadia Maddy, author of The Palm Oil Stain and founder of Indie Book Show Africa.

Picture of Nadia Maddy
Nadia Maddy
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If you’ve been following me on Instagram (pop over and follow), you may have seen my recent post about the Yulisa Amadu Maddy Award in Creative Writing.

Yulisa Amadu Maddy was a writer, playwright, director, poet, actor, dancer, and writer from Sierra Leone. Decorated with several awards, including Sierra Leone National Arts Festival Award. Mr. Maddy is one of 136 writers commemorated in a stained glass window in the Pride Library for outstanding contribution to literature. The creative writing competition is being sponsored by his daughter, Nadia Maddy and PEN Sierra Leone for young adult writers. It is the 3rdannual contest and I am interested in learning more about Nadia and her work as a writer and litpreneur (literature entrepreneur). 

JA: Who/what experience inspired you to become a writer?

NM: I grew up most of the time as an only child so I read a lot. I lived in different countries and cities always the new person so I read a lot. I was always writing but not really because I was inspired by anyone. It's just what I am.

JA: In what ways has your own writing influenced your perspective about life?

NM: It's the other way round. My perspective influences my writing, because since I was a child I realised that I don’t think or see things the way most people do. It's been a problem, but now I realise it was there, because I am supposed to write.

JA: What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

NM: Just do it. There’s nothing to think about. If you don’t someone else will tell your story.

JA: What projects are you currently working on?

NM: For the first time I'm working on stuff that I can’t talk about legally. I had to sign documents. Cool right? Finishing my next novel and I am working on the Indie book show Africa website. It's going to be a one-stop resource centre for writers and focus on African publishing that includes the diaspora. I am working with Digital Back Books on author interviews for our YouTube channel and partnering with new publishers Salmon Hall who are helping me with the creative wrong competition. We are still working with the fantastic charity PEN Sierra Leone. A lot is going on at the moment.

JA: How’d Indie Book Show Africa come about?

NM: My father Yulisa Amadu Maddy was a theatre director, playwright, author and actor. He died in 2014 and I realised that many African artists legacies are forgotten, especially in Sierra Leone. There is no value placed on the arts. I created a writing competition, but then I also realised that there was no one-stop-shop for African Literature video reviews, so I created Indie book show Africa YouTube channel. The legacy of our literature must be documented and recorded. African Literature must be read by a global audience. It's important. 

JA: Which authors have been most impactful on African literature?

NM: That's subjective in a way. A few authors...Chimamanda {Ngozi Adichie}, Chinua Achebe, Buchi Emecheta, Wole Soyinka, and Aminata Forna. However, there are so much more and that's not taking away from those who have managed to tell the African story globally, but there are a handful that have made a global impact.

JA: What is a common misconception people have about African literature and authors?

NM: War, politics, juju, and orphans. It's part of our story, it's just not the only story. Just like South America; war, politics, juju, cocaine. That's only one part of the story.

JA: What are the next steps for IBSA? Will you be expanding the creative writing competition to other countries? 

NM: I'm hoping the next stop is Gambia. Gambia is an amazing place to do good work. It's a very inspiring experience and that's the second country on my list to take the competition.

We need more people reviewing African Literature on our channel. Readers make writers dreams come true. We will be including publishers and author interviews in the immediate future. 

You can find Nadia on your favorite platforms: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.