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Michelle Nkamankeng has been named Africa’s youngest author. The seven-year old has made a name for herself in the literary world since the release of her book, Waiting for the Waves. Along with her books, Michelle also conducts seminars and acts as a motivational speaker for youths and adults. Perdeby spoke to Michelle and her mother, Laurentine, about Michelle’s success, her inspiration and ambitions.
Michelle, how does it feel to be the youngest author in Africa?
I feel proud, happy and excited.
How would you like people to feel when they read your book?
I want people to feel happy and to enjoy the book. I want the book to inspire them to follow their dreams.
What advice would you give other aspiring writers?
I would tell them that reading is really fun and that they should read more because without reading, you cannot write. I would also tell them to always follow their dreams and not to [let] anything get in the way of their dreams.
Laurentine, how do you feel, as a parent, to know that your child has been given this gift?
I feel extremely happy and overwhelmed. It is a wonderful gift that I am sure any mother would be proud of.
You went through a lengthy process to try and get Michelle’s book published. What was that process like?
It was not easy trying to publish her book. However, as time went by I started enjoying it as I learnt more and more about the publishing world, and soon I was able to start my own publishing company.
What emotion did you feel when your daughter came to you and told you that she had already finished writing her first book?
I was absolutely speechless and surprised. It was hard to believe at first, but by the time she had written her third book I realized that it was time to take this more seriously.
You and your husband don’t want Michelle’s school or private life being influenced by the success of her book. How do you manage to keep Michelle grounded?
Michelle is actually quite mature for her age and so she grounds herself. She knows that her education comes first, and so she focuses on her schooling career.
How do you encourage Michelle to pursue her love of writing?
I try to support her as much as I can. Michelle is a very creative child so I try my best to encourage her to explore her creative side.