A Conversation with Anne Pendo
NYASILI (N): Welcome Ann. How are you today? Happy New Year!
ANN PENDO (A.P): Happy New Year Nyasili. I am well. You?
N: Great. I think we will dive in straight into business.
A.P: Yes, let us do this!
N: So what do we not know about Anne Pendo? I guess a lot. What is it?
A.P: Can we get specific. I could say a lot. Including the fact that I love pepper.
N: Who are you and what do you do?
A.P: Ann is a writer, a blogger, an entrepreneur and a teacher of English and literature. I am also a born again Christian. I can also sing once in a while.
N: Great. Most folks here in this group teach English or are studying it at the varsity. Where do you teach English?
A.P: I teach at Missions of Hope international, Joska Centre. Joska -Kamulu.
A.P: (smiling) Yes.
N: What do you write; prose, poetry?
A.P: Mostly poetry. I also do stories (I do not know what to call them) but I create stories from my day to day experience.
N: Stories based on your experiences you mean?
A.P: If I was going to town, and I saw something. I derive a story from that.
N: So it is not an actual rendering of your personal experiences but rather a fictional account borne of it?
A.P: It can be both.
N: Okay. I am just curious to know how teaching English is informing your writing. Does it enhance or inhibit your writing?
A.P: Oh well; it is like a financial support to my writing career, through teaching I too learn a lot and so yes, it enhances my writing. I would also like to mention that it is my dream one day to quit teaching and venture fully into writing.
N: Other than your blog is your work published elsewhere?
A.P: Yes, different websites.
1. Fursaafrica. (I wrote one article on current issues) By the way, I also write on current issues, so long as it is not politics.
2. Our Church’s website Gospel life Media (I have done book reviewing and poetry based on the sermons).
N: Awesome! What are you working on now?
A.P: I am working on a book a poetry book. (Allow me not to say what it is about right now). Also I have two skeletons on fictional stories. I am scared to write them though. In addition, I want to do back to back content on my blog.
N: What’s your blog?
A.P: I thought you would never ask. (pendoann.wordpress.com)
N: Your writing schedule seems busy. How do you balance other aspects of life and writing?
A.P: As you can see, I am seriously single. My social life has been badly affected by my work. I take one day at a time, what comes, comes.
N: Wow! Heartwrenching. Do you have any 2021 resolutions about writing?
A.P: Yes. They say “more readership , more writership”. Well they do not. I do. I want to read a book or two a month, establish my writings to give me a good income (even if it means becoming a ghost writer), engage my facebook audience on my writings, write short stories and scripts, buy a domain if not a website for my blog, do short writing courses, publish my book or a book, write more; the sun shall not set before I have written something. Commit, decide, do it. I have literally written this on my journal (Did i tell you I journal? Yes I do. Every little thing that happens to me)
N: Wow, you have your work well cut out. Impressive.
A.P: Thank you.
N: Your hitlist has got monthly readings. Do you have a read list?
A.P: Yes I have a read list. This year I am strictly doing Kenyan/African. Also my mom bought me a bunch of books last year. Like a lot, I am hoping to buy them.
N: Which Kenyan writers excite you?
A.P: Bennys poem books. Joanah Thatiah Guilty, The Secret of Baba Lolas wives, Wanjiru Koinanges Havoc of choice. Joana Thatiah, Meja Mwangi. Read them
N: Ngugi wa Thiong’o?
N: I am glad you have read Benny’s poems? I found them pretty accessible to my understanding
A.P: Through a friend, I am yet to purchase mine.
N: What do you think of them?
A.P: They are beautiful and affordable; mind blowing! Especially Phases of Life. I kind of fell in love with it.
N: Sure, they are quite something. A few questions before we go.
N: Have you been writing all your life?
A.P: The question I was waiting for. My mom had a shop, and from a young age she would make me sit there and wait for customers then shout “Mum Customaaa” to keep me from getting bored, she bought me books to read and also some to write on so that I could work on my hand writing. I would write poems, stories and I wrote a soap opera when I was 14. My mom discovered the talent and kept telling everyone her daughter is a writer. It encouraged me. When I went to high school, I would compose letters to other people’s boyfriend’s. I wrote poems and got paid. I wrote a kikuyu poem that was performed in Kenya music festivals upto the county level. In campus, I would sell my poems to love birds too. So to answer your question, Yes. I cannot remember a time I never wrote.
N: Wow! Your writing journey goes a long way back. And to imagine stuff you have written, including a soapie and love letters for sale – wow! What are you doing to make your craft tick? You talked about joining a short writing course? Have you talked to Makena Onjerika?
A.P: The soapie was a cliché. And the poems, I am an emotional writer. Writing about love/heartbreak is easy. Not yet. I do not have the resources. I am currently doing free courses on Udemy, Hubspot and Google.
N: How are they? What elements of craft do they teach about?
A.P: You know what they say about free things. They offer SEO, copywriting, content writing and the likes.
Nyasili: How long have you been with us and how did you get to know about this space?
A.P: I came in late November through Benny whom I met through a mutual friend.
N: Has this platform served your interests in any way?
A.P: Yes. To be associated with it is amazing. When I send in my pieces and they are critiqued, I learn a lot. When others are critiqued too, I learn not to make the same mistake.
N : What else do we need to do to make it more effective?
A.P: Before Benny added me here, he gave me a stun warning on being inactive. I have waited for the challenge, I have not seen it yet. I expected anytime I open my whatsapp I am met by a dazilion (forgive my hyperbole) messages from WSA. Also, not in bad faith. This girl loves a challenge.
N: In other words you are saying the group is not as active as you expected?
A.P: Yes. Nyasili: I hope this is noted by all.
N: And now your parting shot before I open the floor for more questions from the family?
A.P: Although I have been writing am not perfect. Infact, I am far from perfect. I am open to learning from you guys.
Thank you for this opportunity. I am a proud member.
N: Thank you Ann Pendo for accepting to talk to us today. I wish you all the best in your writing endevors and in life as a whole.