Writer Spotlight: Okundayor
Okunyador, writer of “Astuzia”
A little about the author:
My name is Karen Bright-Davies, but I prefer to be called Okundayor. It’s a name of Sierra-Leaonean heritage, one of the many places my family is from. I was born in August 1991 in Accra to a pastor and his wife, with three other siblings trailing behind me. Depending on how well you know me, I’m either very introverted or very sanguine. From a very early age, books have been my closest friends. Although I loved reading a lot, I never considered writing seriously during the early stages. My first attempt at writing stories was at age 11, with a one page Cinderella-esque story. I picked up writing again in high school, but as a hobby, and dropped it after graduation. Writing occurred to me again in my sophomore year in college and started a blog to fill with articles and short stories. To fuel my pieces, I draw on past experiences, most of which I have documented in old dusty journals. Apart from writing, I enjoy sports, video gaming, drawing, watching movies, sewing, singing, and silence. Currently I attend Ashesi University College and though I am studying Business Administration, I ultimately view writing as my preferred career choice.
How did you start writing?
When I was younger, I tried to mimic what I read through writing. By the time I was in high school, my friends and I started this “tag team” of writing, where we each had exercise books where we were writing our own novels, and after every chapter or two we would swap and read each other’s progress. But after high school I quit for a bit. I started writing again in my second year in college, mostly just to express my frustrations because I was going through a hard time and didn’t know how else to vent. But I soon discovered that these writings that came out of my frustrated periods were enjoyed very much by my friends. I discovered how easily and clearly I could express myself through written words, and how that expression seems to capture the attention of others, making them feel what it is I was feeling. So I put up a blog, and I’ve been writing ever since.
Who are your major influences?
I’ll have to say, all the things I’ve read, all the movies I’ve watched, all the things I’ve seen, and all the things I’ve lived.
What inspires you?
My inspiration is very random. I could just be sitting there and suddenly have the urge to write for no particular reason. With that, I could go for hours. Or I’ll just suddenly develop an idea I simply must explore. I usually just pick my themes or subjects from things happening around me and then proceed to create something from it. I can’t really put a finger on anything that particularly inspires me. Oh wait, and sometimes when I read a really good piece, I just suddenly get inspired to write.
What do you like about the piece you submitted?
I like that it’s…odd, not usual. The whole idea of two people living in one person, fully aware of each other and fighting to be at the forefront is just exciting. But most of all, I love that it is a metaphor for mental battles that every person goes through, even though it may not be as extreme as the story depicts. Everyone fights with themselves at one point in time, whether to suppress certain desires or express them. Most people have a picture of the tiny cartoon angel and devil hovering above your head, arguing out the pros and cons to every decision. This is just like it, only I wanted to describe it from a more direct angle.
How do you feel about having your work produced?
Excited! You have no idea how much. This is my first production. I hope it is the beginning of more productions to come!
Read more of Okunyador’s writing, including the original version of her piece “Astuzia” at http://okundayorsthoughts.wordpress.com
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