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Video: Emmanuel Deegbe on “Sweet Nothing”

Q. Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Emmanuel Deegbe and I’m a writer. It took years for me to figure out that I love stories, and even longer to actually write any story. But once I started, I knew that this was I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  I started school at Laguardia community college and finished at Sarah Lawrence on May 2012. After  6 years in exile, I returned  to Ghana, hoping to write and tell the African stories I always dreamed of.

Q. How did you start writing?

About 5 years ago, I just started messing around with a story I’d been thinking of for ages. I wrote 50 pages and had a friend read over it just for him to tell, in the most polite way possible, it was crap. It truly was. I stopped writing for a while, but the desire to write never left. Little by little, I took some classes, experimented, read great writers, got over the self doubt and just tried again.

Q. What inspires you?

I hear random stuff on the radio, tv, newspaper, conversations, that just linger in my mind and eventually I have to make a story out of it. Also sometimes I write based more on my mood more than on inspiration. Sometimes I’m silly. Sometimes I’m somber. Sometimes I’m curious. My mood dictates what I’ll write and how I’ll write.

Q. Who are your major influences?

I hate to say it but the author that got me into stories was Josef Conrad, specifically “Heart of Darkness.” Even though the book is contreversial, racist, and ignorant in so many ways, the writing was extraordinary and the idea of having something worthwhile to say really stuck with me.

Q. How do you feel about having your work produced?

It’s encouraging because in general, art is one of those sectors that rarely gets any love. To have this ATW platform to share one’s work is a great service to Ghana because it will make sure that people’s talents don’t go to waste.

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