Primarily Writing in a Secondary Language – A Discussion With Sierra Leone Indie Author Alieu Bundu

A Discussion with Alieu Bundu, Sierra Leone Indie AuthorThis week (Episode 26) we feature an interview with Alieu Bundu, a Sierra Leone indie author that writes primarily in English even though his primary language is Kathemneh. Alieu Bundu is a Sierra Leonean short story writer and novelist. His short stories have been published widely in Sierra Leone and other parts of the world. His novel, Silver Lining which was featured on Episode 25, follows a twelve-year-old boy named Alimu as he struggles through abuse and adversity just to receive an education. This book blew both Marie and I away with its message and feel that it should be part of family reading. Read more of Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera’s review on Medium that was mentioned in the show!

If you missed any of the interview segment, below you will find a transcribed version.

  1. What are the advantages and/or disadvantages in writing in your second language? The main advantage of writing in English is that it gives me a broad scope of audience. I believe that so many people that aren’t Sierra Leonese can read and understand Silver Lining with ease because I wrote it in English. If I had written it in Kathemneh (cat-em-nay), my first language the audience would have been limited to the people who read and understand it. Notwithstanding, it helps me to broaden my horizon. Writing involves a lot, apart from the act of writing itself, I have to read extensively to learn how other authors succeed in writing engaging and educative stories and by so doing that has helped me greatly in increasing the base (or best) of my knowledge.
  2. What do you find most difficult about writing in the English language. Mentally the conventions of English language. Generally, I am not someone that has much regard for rules; I find I annoying to follow the rules at certain things of life, so when I found out so when I learned that I must write impeccably in order to make my stories sellable when I started writing I had no option but to discipline myself to do so.
  3. What is one thing that you wish you understood about the wiring industry when you began? What I wish I knew about the writing industry when I started my career were the challenges of getting published traditionally. When I started writing I thought that the most difficult thing was to finish writing the story. And when I was done with that I thought that I would get a publisher that would invest in it and put it out in the world without headache. So it was a shock to me when I started receiving more rejection letters (inaudible) from publishers when I decided to shop some of my stories around. In fact, I also learned that it is very difficult to access the top editors of publishing houses and if I want to access them I need to first of all get an agent. Being ambitious, I searched for agents online that accept submissions from African writers, but I couldn’t get anyone that would represent me?.

Silver Lining by Alieu Bundu is available on amazon. Remember to leave a review when you’ve finished the story and please take a moment to give Indie Beginning some stars and a rating on the platform with which you found us. Leave a comment below about this episode and peruse through some of our past episodes that you may have missed to find other amazing self-published and/or indie authors. Thanks for listening!

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