Lauri Kubuitsile won the 2007 BTA/ Anglo Platinum Short Story Contest and in 2009 she won the Baobab Literary Prize in the junior category and in 2010 she won in the senior category. In 2011 she was shortlisted for The Caine Prize. One of her amazing short stories, Missing Bits, was published in Short Story is Dead, Long Live The Short Story, a collection of short stories published by Black Letter Media.
What attracted you to become a writer?
I am not that person who always wanted to be a writer. I’m a generalist, good at a few things an expert at nothing. Nor am I the person who would die if I could not write. I like to write, it helps me understand things better, including myself.
Do you remember the first stories you ever wrote? Can you tell us about them?
When I decided to get serious about writing, one of the first stories I wrote is my story A Pot Full of Tears. It’s probably a bit of a failure to say since we’re meant to be improving all of the time, but I still believe it is one of the best things I’ve ever written. It’s a story about a rich couple who are unable to have children who adopt a child from Pakistan. It was inspired by a friend of mine. It went on to be highly commended in the old Commonwealth Short Story Contest.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered when writing?
Since writing is my job, the way I need to earn my keep, the big problem is trying to make enough money. I am quite versatile and can write various things so that helps. I write a weekly column on books and writing for one of our national newspapers in Botswana. I write for kids and adults, genre and literary. I’ve written for radio and TV. As long as I’m writing I’m happy.
What inspires your writing?
Almost everything I write grows from a seed of truth. Something in my life or something I saw or something someone told me. From there it grows, often into something quite different. .
What’s the best thing about being a writer?
There are many things I love about being a writer. Of course I make my own schedule and there is a lovely freedom to that. It is such a high when a writing day has gone well. I love new projects and acceptances. I love being with other writers at festivals and residencies. I like hearing from people who have read my stories and liked them. It is a bit of a charmed life in a way.
What are you working on right now?
I’ve been working now, for about two years, on a historical novel set in Southern Africa (South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) during about 1897-1908. That’s my long term project that I am enjoying immensely. I have numerous short term things going on too.
What are your words of advice for budding writers?
The way I’ve learned to write is by writing and by reading other people’s writing. I think for new writers they must remember -don’t be too proud …or too scared.