11-year-old student Munachi Mbonu is already an author and an entrepreneur. She is from Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria, lives in Lagos, attended Grande Oakbridge Montessori school and served as the head girl of the school. She will be going to Atlantic Hall school in September 2018.
She responded to the following questions in an interview with The Guardian:
How did you start writing?
I fantasize a lot. When I was 7, I used to have a laptop where I sketch and draw, then write a short story behind it. From there, I developed my writing skills and I was able to publish my first book.
What made you to go into writing?
Hmmm!!! Sometimes when the house is noisy or my mum sees us watching TV all day without doing any other thing, she would tell us to go and pick a book and read. Then, we do a book review on it or we get a sheet of paper to write our own stories. Sometimes, my mum will tell my siblings and I to imagine our self-contesting for a presidential seat in Nigeria. She will ask us to write a manifesto. Lol or she will ask us to write our business plan. It was my mum’s way of getting a silent and peaceful home. From there, I developed the interest in writing.
How was your training like?
I was self-trained.
What problem is your business solving?
Encouraging reading culture.
How do you manage schooling and writing?
I was in grade six as at the time I was writing my two books. So, it was really challenging balancing the two, I had a lot of home work and a lot of common entrance exams to write. I didn’t even have a free weekend anymore because I had to use my weekend to write both home work and my book. I had to reduce all my play time and TV time to be able to finish up my book.
What are the titles of your books?
Concealed and Cherubim, The child of destiny
Who are the target audience for your book?
Children, teenagers, young adults and even older people. So, it’s basically everyone.
Have you ever made any money from your books?
Yes, I have.
Have you ever launched any of your books?
Yes, I have.
What motivated you and who are your role models?
Ronald Dahl and Chimamanda Adichie.
Where and how did you get your customers who patronize you?
Through social media, one-on-one marketing and TV shows.
What makes your books stand out from others written by children of your age?
Unlike other child authors who believe their story must have foreign contents or foreign character, I believe in indigenous content. My books have a lot of local names and food, like eba and soup, moimoi. Also, my choice of local words that an average Nigerian can relate to like “Oyinbo food”. Others books that I read talks more about foreign foods and culture.
When other kids are doing wonders in different fields are you motivated to do more or just lagged behind?
I feel motivated to do more.
When are you always inspired to write?
Mostly when I’m alone in my room and everywhere is silent.
What are the aspiration, aim and vision of your writing
I want to tell an African story in a contemporary way and also encourage reading culture.
Were you at any point discouraged by your parents, siblings, pressure from studies or even being physically challenged?
Yes! Pressure from studies, especially when I come back really tired after doing a lot of work in school but each time I remember I have a story to tell, I get energized. Thanks to my wonderful mom who is ever supportive and always willing to buy any material she feels I might need to finish up my book.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself as the most celebrated young child author and entrepreneur.
What other things are you skilled at, apart from writing?
I play tennis and I build my own games through codings.
Any final words for the kids out there?
I believe every child has a talent. Please build on it. The future of our great nation depends on us. We need to develop every talent we have to enable us build a great nation. We should please not think we are too young to be entrepreneurs. We have to start creating solutions to human problems. Robots are taking over employment. Most Shops are becoming self service. Very soon, there might be little or no need for employment. So, we need to all start doing something about our future now, and like Bill gates said “if you are born poor it’s not your fault, but if you die poor it’s your fault.” Wherever you start doesn’t determine where you’d end. Always work hard and stay positive.