Isaiah Achola

Isaiah Achola

Tell us about yourself, your background, and your current ‘station’ in life.

I am a proud husband, father, and grandfather. I am a 64-year-old, trained film editor (currently retired), with over 35 years of experience in broadcasting.  I love reading, writing, farming, and serving my local community, which is what I currently occupy myself with. I am the current Chairman of the Board of Management at Busia Agricultural Training Centre (ATC). As well, I am a member of the boards of management of Elukhari and Kanjala secondary and primary schools, respectively. I also serve as the deacon at Butula Baptist Church.  

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? What inspired you?

I was an avid reader in my high school days. I read almost all the books by James Hadley Chase, and others like Efuru by Flora Nwapa, The Concubine by Elechi Amadi, A Grain of Wheat by Ngugi wa Thiongo and many others. While reading these books, I kept wondering what it would take to be a writer. After leaving the Kenya Institute of Mass Communication, I became an ardent reader of Wahome Mutahi’s column, ‘Whispers’. His satirical portrayal of the ills that bedevilled our society at that time was ingenious. Slowly, the urge to write began to sprout in me but quickly died after I attempted to write my novel, Scavengers in 1987 ending in chapter two. Later, the political commentaries of Kwendo Opanga and Mutahi Ngunyi stirred the writing bug that had gone to slumber and inspired me to begin writing Chasing Ethnic Shadows in 2010.

How did you develop an interest in writing and what was your first published item? Where was this published?

Although I had the gift of creative writing from an early age, I never attempted to write and submit any articles for publication. However, the events of 2008 post-election violence provided enough raw materials to tempt me to sit down and write my first novel. In 2008, civil organizations came up with the unifying call, “We are one,” to try to reconcile the warring communities. Chasing Ethnic Shadows, my first novel, is an attempt at reminding Kenyans that we are one. Wholesale condemnation and stereotyping of communities only stir unnecessary rivalry; instead, we should appreciate that every community has its fair share of people with different characteristics, both good and bad.

When did you write your first book and how old were you? What was the title? Where was it published?

I started writing my first book, Chasing Ethnic Shadows, in 2010, when I was 52 years. It was not until 2018 that it was published by Nsemia Inc. Publishers.

What are the predominant subjects you focus on in your writing? Why?

I deal with diverse subjects, although I have a particular liking for societal values and hence issues of morality and corruption. I believe that my writing should invite the reader to be introspective. If my writing can help people change and see things from different perspectives, perhaps through the eyes of someone whose shoes they haven’t walked in, I would have achieved my aim.     

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Books By Isaiah Achola