Some months ago I had a pile of good luck and mixed in there was a secret. Well now the secret has been let out of the bag. (Click here for other finalists) My children's book, Aunt Lulu, is a finalist in the 2009 Sanlam Prize for Youth Literature. This year's theme was humour which makes it even more important to me.
When I first started writing about six years ago I thought I would be the Motswana version of Sue Townsend and create hilarious characters like Adrian Mole. I promptly wrote two, what I thought were hilarious novels. Both have had so many rejections they can barely hobble back to their bottom drawer. I gave up my dream and became quite serious. But now my hope is that Aunt Lulu might pull my dream from the ashes. (hope hope)
Aunt Lulu is about Amo, who dreams of becoming a famous journalist one day but has, to her horror, been assigned the agony aunt (Aunt Lulu) column for the school newspaper. This leads to a series of unfortunate events leading her to decide if it might not be time to drop out of school and sell fat cakes for a living. Amo lives with her Gran. Nono is Amo's best friend and she has plans to become the first Motswana astronaut. Here is a small bit from the book.
Gran knowing that I was to be Aunt Lulu for the school newspaper would have been a disaster. Anything even smelling of a waste of time got Gran seriously wound up. “Idle hands are the Devil’s playground.” The Devil played a big role in Gran’s life; actually the avoidance of all things devilish played a big role in Gran’s life.
Many things reeked of the Devil. Long unplaited hair, gardens not cleared and swept tidily, people who spoke badly about Sir Seretse Khama, most television shows, Miriam Makeba, food from tins, anything associated with airplanes, maize meal in paper bags,…. actually the list was endless and ever growing and surprisingly fluid.
You would think God and the Devil would have long ago divided up stuff. Like God got hardworking, the Devil got lazy. God got books, the Devil got comic books. Like that. I would have thought the lists were sorted out. But if you kept track of what was godly and what was the work of the Devil, according to Gran, you might very well become confused. The lists shifted a lot. But a piece of advice- don’t point it out to Gran. First she will deny it. And then she’ll be annoyed at you for the rest of the day. For example, since she liked Nono (“Comes from a good Sekgatla family”) all things to do with airplanes remained the Devil’s work, but somehow going up in the heavens in a spaceship was strictly out of Satane’s realm. I suspect the Devil list was conveniently pulled out whenever my life was to be judged....
The prize giving is in March -so wish me and Aunt Lulu luck!!!