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When I was 15, I decided to become a writer. I had fallen in love with books at six and I believed it was enough to catapult me into a dream world inhabited by the gods of the letters. I marveled at what these people could do with words, the ease with which they thrust me into a rollercoaster of emotion. I wanted to be near them, or have their shadow fall on me as they passed. It helped that I had never met any writer in the flesh, content with their pictures on the blurb page. I ran on the fuel of faith, dismissing any misgivings about my prospects with yet more faith.
In 1990, I left my native Uganda and went to Holland to pursue my dream. I still had no idea what writers ate or how they carried themselves. All I knew was that I wanted to create a world out of words and since I had run short of books to read because of the economic situation obtaining at the time, I had decided to go where I believed were countless books to devour and publishers to send manuscripts. Books I found in plenty, publishers proved rather scarce. I kept plugging away at my manuscript and after four years of labor, I got a publisher. Abyssinian Chronicles introduced me to readers and I could no longer come undone by confrontation with reality. The fact that no big book was expected to come out of Uganda; and that few first novels ever got the kind of publicity mine got. The fact that most writers can’t live off their pen; all those facts came after I had published my book to rave reviews. I had escaped and I was glad I had not become a casualty of reason.