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Author’s/Writer’s Choice of Genre: Impact of Life Experiences

AuthorHouse author Dr. Michael Nicolas Wundah started his literary career writing political satire. His chosen subject was the country of his birth, Sierra Leone.

So you will probably be surprised that Dr. Wundah’s first book published through AuthorHouse is a romance novel entitled Virgin Island.

We welcome Dr. Wundah in this, the first of a two-part AuthorHouse Author’s Digest series, as he explains how his choices of literary genres were influenced by his real life experiences.   

Author’s/Writer’s Choice of Genre: Impact of Life Experiences
By Dr Michael N. Wundah   

In the literary/creative world, the choice of genres is in my personal opinion, predicated on the writer’s or authors real life experiences.

Growing Up in Sierra Leone
These experiences could range from faith/religion to politics and societal imposed or self-induced happenings. I was in Sierra Leone, West Africa, a developing country with a chequered history. I was also brought up in Sierra Leone but have spent close to three decades now in the west – in Great Britain. I gained my preliminary education throughout my formative, teenage years in Sierra Leone.

Reflecting on the historicity of Sierra Leone, its audit analysis, like in most developing or Third World countries is bloated with the insidious viruses of corruption, greed, tribalism, nepotism and avalanche – the typical characteristics of patrimonial states.

These vices were ripe in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, especially during what most political analysts have dubbed the most devastating civil war in in modern African History.

I grew up with people around me who were immersed or what became a benign cultural practice made to believe that these vices were prudent and that one manhood or integrity is judged by how smart you were at being corrupt.

How These Experiences Influenced My Writing
If writing was ever going to fall within my grasp, which I have always worked hard to achieve, undoubtedly by virtue of my upbringing, the genre was going to play a major role in my adventure.

My genre is political satire with a twist – which exposes the filth and injustice in society built around the patrimonial culture in my country.

Although, I was out of the country, having migrated to the UK via The Gambia, another Western African sister state; the impact of the civil war affected me and my family, like anyone else in Sierra Leone during the conflict. To this day, when I reflect on the impacts the civil war brought to bear on my family and I, I can say we suffered in equal measures as those who were close to the actions in Sierra Leone.

My First Books
I started actively writing for publication in 2004, and since then I have not looked back. In addition to three texts in the English Language, I have written two books, which are political satires, carved around the vices mentioned inter alia. The political satires are Sunset in Sierra Leone, Sierra Leone Corridors of Power, and recently – Landscaping Sierra Leone’s Third Way Politics in The Mould of Attitudinal and Behavioural Change. I launched the latter in Freetown, Sierra Leone last Easter break.

Satire can be a Dangerous Exercise
Satire, especially around the theme of politics is not in my view a popular undertaking or genre especially if one concentrates on a Third World state as your case study. Reflecting on the debilitating consequences, the statistics spell danger, extreme danger. At the launch of Sunset in Sierra Leone, one of the guest speakers, a senior Sierra Leonean academic summed up his analysis nicely,

“Political satire of the nature you have imbued in, Michael Wundah, is not for the faint hearted.”

He was right, bravely I went to Sierra Leone prior to the 2007 elections and gave an interview on the only national TV channel. By the time I returned home I met more than a dozen emails threatening me for exposing filth that obtained in the periods I covered in the book and the ‘‘Big Fishes’’ I analysed in the context of my satire. A handful of brave political satirists that have bravely launched into this genre have paid with their own lives and those of their loved ones.

Read on for part two of this fascinating story in Dr. Wundah’s next AuthorHouse Author’s digest guest article.

Dr. Michael N. Wundah’s AuthorHouse Bibliography:

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