Ivor: Do you feel that current Nigerian politics has influenced your writing? And if so to what extent?

KT: No, but that is as far as my deliberate rebellion will allow, and I have tried as much as possible to fuse much of my own outlook in the speech of the characters I create. I cannot control the unconscious however. If I’m a writer at all, I’m one because of my upbringing and influences all tainted with patches of Nigerian history and my own upbringing in the many cultures that I’ve interacted with. The rest are my own questing polemics. In essence, I don’t write so as to be patriotic except to defy and to question, but mostly to locate the common humanity in my characters as well as in those who read and connect with them. I like the simple, small, family things, not the grand “national” political ones, and I’ve dedicated myself to exploring the small ones. I’ve discovered that they’re often even more fun than big politics. And as a writer, you get the liberty of imagination. Politics is more restricting. In that, Marachera was right. But overall, we are still a sum of our individual experiences, and are conditioned by our environments whether we like it or not.

Read my full conversation with Ivor Hartmann on new writing in Africa on the Sentinel Blog. Ivor is the writer and publisher from Zimbabwe, now living in “economic exile” in South Africa.

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