BY THE BOOK: Nadia Ahmed

Nadia Ahmed is an author from Mombasa, Kenya. PHOTO| COURTESY

Nadia Ahmed is an author from Mombasa, Kenya. Her first book TheFeministinUs is a combination of quotes from men and women from different countries addressing feminism.

Nadia spoke to about her literary favourites.


Tell me the three books that excited you the most in 2017?

The first book would be In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney. What’s special about this book is the way the writer profiles 100 women in a series of interviews where they give advice, share inspiration and rich wisdom about work and life in their very different professions in the 21stcentury.

The second book would be TalkLikeTED by Carmine Gallo. It teaches one the art of public speaking. The third book is Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success, by Steve Harvey. Harvey makes you realise your gift and help you bank in on it as you continue to understand yourself.


Which two books do you hold so dear that they can’t possibly be lent out?

Message from Nam by Danielle Steel, this is a romantic novel that takes me into a place where I got into my hopeless romantic world and just get lost in it. The second would be The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson. It tells it all and tells it as is. I think now I understand why these two books are so dear to me, they both have elements that define me.



Your fauvorite childhood books? Why?

NancyDrew, Famous Five and Winnie the Pooh! These books enhanced my imagination so that I was always a day dreamer, wanderer and wanted to explore the world when I grew more I believed there was more than what Mombasa could offer me. As for WinniethePooh, the stories always had a teaching.

If you were to dine with three writers dead/alive, who would they be and why?

Can we just start with William Shakespeare? I have so much to ask him. How I would love to just hear him recite all his sonnets and teach me more literature and Old English! Then could we please have another table where we could have the madam herself, Danielle Steel. I mean her romantic novel just keep me on my toes, she is my idol if I could ask for one thing from her it would be to have the ability to devour that romance she writes in her books.

And lastly J.K Rowling. To me, she is more than just an author she is an inspiration, how she came about from struggling as a writer to now giving back to the society after her immense success. I aspire to be like her.

Most unforgettable character from a book?

Winnie thePooh! Let me explain, this world is too serious and we are surrounded with anxiety, uncertainty and pressure from all corners the character Winnie the Pooh is totally unforgettable, always smiling and happy even when situations are tough or challenging. And if I could quote Winnie, ‘The River knows this: there is no hurry, we shall all get there some day.’


 Which book do you wish you had written and why?

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson is a book I wish I would have written. Actually I have ideas on maybe one day writing a similar book, but maybe mine would be a step by step book on how to survive and not care about the coast stereotypes about women.


If you were sent off to Robben Island for a year, which three books would you take with you?

I would easily take I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones, HarryPotter (now deciding which one exactly to take is hard) and TheMistress by Danielle Steel.


Do you think book festivals, literary prizes and writing workshops are important to a writer’s growth?

Of course. It boosts a writer’s morale and encourages them too. It makes writers feel acknowledged for the gift they chose to share with the world.


Tell me about the last book that made you cry?

Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou. This book brought me to tears because each time I read it, I remember how lucky I am to have my mother in my life. Maya Angelou didn’t have that and in this biography and memoir you see the struggle, the holes and instability that she went through.


Among your contemporaries, who do you consider the most exciting newcomer in the writing world and why?

My friend Lubna Malik Al Harthy. She has exceptional poetic writing skills. She is currently working on her first poetry book that should be done by the end of this year.


What are you currently writing?

I am actually in between writing projects. I am writing my thesis paper on African Feminism and working on my second book titled For That Empowered Girl meant for teenage girls in Africa. I believe it is vital to share our stories with the young girls in Africa in order to teach and inspire them to do and be better.



BY THE BOOK is a literary series that covers authors, bloggers, actors, academics and poets of note in the African continent. For comments or inquiries, e-mail: [email protected]


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