Maryam Gatawa advised up-and-coming writers to put more efforts on their writings, saying “wreathes will come later, in mints and in plaques”
Please may we meet you?
I am Maryam Gatawa. My pen name is Meegat. I live in Kano, Nigeria. I studied Economics, but I am a lover of art, poetry in particular.
Why do you write?
Because I love words and I know how to write them. Because my words inspire, soothe, and sometimes, they give hope. Because someone somewhere, will read them and heave a sigh and say ‘I am not alone”, because one day, these words will make all remember me, when the world has forgotten me.
What’s your writing genre?
What inspires your writing?
Anything. Love, Meat. Children. War, blood, blasts. The busy day, and the snoring night. I am inspired by nature and everything under her skirt. The retreating sunsets and the old ash moon. I am inspired by paths (The worn out ones and the roads not taken, and the stories they carry).
I am inspired by these ladies drawing water from the wells, and this neem by our house, our neighbors’ red zinc roof, my stupid cat, my dead parrot, my love for poetry and anything blue. Emotions, being the greatest of all.
Where have your works been published? And how many contests have you won lately?
Some of my works have been published in the African Writer Magazine, Praxis Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears, FirstWriter Magazine, 1Dollar Publications, PIN Quarterly Magazine, Tuck Magazine, Better Than StarBucks, Anthology Of Best New African Poets 2017, Anthology of Arts and Nature of Free poetic Universe 2016, The Arts Muse Fair, Kalahari Review as well as in local papers.
My poem “And Tell the Stars” won the Ink Sweat and Tears Webzine Poem of the Month in 2018. In the same vein, my poem WHO WILL COME FORTH FOR US, won Best Poem of May at Bayero University Forum, in 2018. UNTITLED and CHIBOK GIRLS won the best Poems of the Month of August and July and May of 2017 at Association of Nigeria Authors, and Poetry contest, Kwandala Foundation in Kano, Nigeria.
What inspired your first published work?
It is still in the pipeline. Not published yet. But for what it’s worth, it’s being inspired by raw humanity.
Describe your writing style in one word?
It’s just Meegatic. Haha
What writing styles are easy for you to pull off?
Freeverse. My love for freeverse in poetry is but only second to meat.
Aside from being a writer what other career would you settle for? Teaching! Anytime, anywhere!
Give us a little talk on being a writerpreneur/reviewer/ writer or a blog/ website you run.
Writing is a flexible stuff. I do it aside my main hustle. But I do not take it as a career. I write when I write and I work when I work. Its flexibility does well with me as I have lots of personal engagements to attend to. Writing or poetry per say has been a home I return to after a busy noisy day.
If you were to pick any writer from among your Facebook friends or writing groups whose works inspire you the most, who would it be? Umar Sidi Abubakar is a mad contagious poet. He inspires me in ways he’ll never know. For group, that’s PoeticWednesday!
What has been the best part of your writing journey?
The best part is that I inspire lots into this beautiful art-Poetry. Also, I get to have fun with my words anytime. It’s gratifying having power over words, especially, poetically!
What do you think is the best way for writers of this time to make money?
I think writers of this time should get money in the best way they are getting money
In five years time, what do you think would become of Nigerian writer’s and the demand for their works?
I am a very optimistic lady. The future is bright for Nigerian writers I must say. Progress no matter how little, is still progress. People like Eriata Orhibabhor, Khalid Imam and BM Dzukogi are doing great. We have PoeticWednesdays and Yelf doing some great stuff for writers. Konyashamsrumi, ANA and PIN are all bodies trying to bring to the fore, our Nigerian talents. We need promotion, we need sponsorship. But most importantly, we need qualitative well baked works to bear the weight of our names. For what is worth, to me the future is gonna be bright, or so I think.
If you were to be in a gathering where you are to address first-time writers/authors who want to profit from their writing, what would you say to them?
I’ll tell them to write for art sake, for writing sake, to cast off the thought of money, or prizes first. I’ll ask them to hold their writings close as they do to their faiths. When you ask for water, it comes along with a glass. Write first, and write well; the wreathes will come later, in mints and in plaques. Or whatever!