Winnie Nantongo on her debut book and advice to young poets

Winnie Nantongo is a Ugandan poet whose work is admired for incredibly articulating her readers’ most personal and intense feelings.
Winnie's work centers around love, growth, healing, inspiration, activism, and affirmations

Winnie Nantongo is a 22-year-old Ugandan poet whose work is admired for incredibly articulating her readers’ most personal and intense feelings.

She self-published her first collection of poems ‘the lover and her human’ on March 11 this year as per Amazon.

After reading only a few poems from her debut poetry collection, I just couldn’t wait to sit down with the author and ask her some questions that I and her fans out there would really want to know.

How long have you been writing poems?

Writing started for me when I was eleven in primary six. I remember using a 48 paged picfare book as a journal to express myself in a way I couldn’t do with anyone else

So I always came back to this ‘journal’ every single day and write down my feelings, thoughts, and beliefs in form of poetry.

Your book ‘The Lover and Her Human’ talks about love, loss, grief, and empowerment — are these the only topics you write about?

No, I actually write almost about everything but I chose to focus on these specific four topics just for this collection.

What should readers expect in your book?

First, they should expect healing through poetry. Then they should expect to look into my soul because most of these poems are things I have personally been through so they are going to see me falling in love, getting my heart broken, healing, and finally rising. But this is not all about me. I’m hoping they will find at least one poem that speaks directly to them. Something they are going through or even been through.

Do you perform at poetry recitals or you only stop at writing?

No, I’m actually a very shy introverted person and kind of speedy when I talk that I can’t control it sometimes so I opted for the safer option, and that is to write

The Lover and Her Human by Winnie Nantongo
A page from ‘the lover and her human’

You decided to publish your book via Amazon, why didn’t you use local publishers?

I tried local publishers first but honestly, there aren’t many options here to choose from and the few I tried were very expensive therefore I opted for amazon which was a better and cheaper option for me

Should we look forward to more books or this is it?

Well, this is only the beginning of this new “author journey” that I have always dreamt about. I’m certainly looking forward to writing more books in the future

You are also passionate about filmmaking, have you participated in movie production yet?

Yes I have actually worked on a few projects with a friend that ain’t ready yet but hopefully will be soon

How can people find your book?

The lover and her human is available on Amazon, kobo, AbeBooks among other major online bookstores in both ebook and paperback

What would you say to a poet who’s just starting out? What’s that one thing you think it’s crucial for them to know?

Just write it all down as it comes and doesn’t worry about the rules or about being right or wrong. You can always go back and edit it later. Also don’t aim for perfection from the start.

Winnie’s work centers around love, growth, healing, inspiration, activism, and affirmations. Her stated goal is to assist people develop their minds and hearts through poetry and storytelling.

Mayende Collins Israel

Contributor, The Postdale Daily

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