Twenty nine-year-old, Deacon Luwam Habte, is an emerging writer. He says his addiction to reading started during his childhood. Later, it enabled him to write some school poems at the age of seven. Working hard with what he has and dealing with challenges he faced he is now a capable author with a wide range of loyal readers. Q&A invites Deacon Luwam Habte.
- What inspired you to write?
At first I did not know that I have a passion for writing or reading. When my parents were still alive I used to read my father’s diary. My father’s diary had many things for me to learn from. He was writing all the things that he faced and his feelings with a good style of writing. From that time on I became addicted to reading. This was my first inspiration. On top of that, my teacher in church called Henok, is very talented in Geez scripture and has written more than 20 books. He and his works were also a big inspiration to me. I was reading his books regularly and, gradually, I started collecting writing tips from him.
- How did you get into writing?
I got in to writing very seriously when I was working at Kokebe Xbah Printing Press. I took notes from the books that were ready to be printed and after some time I thought of rearranging all the notes I gathered while working in the printing press. To my surprise, my notes came to be more than 1000 pages! Additionally, I found a chance t o work w i t h the Senate International Service in Bisha, and there I read so many books and started writing down more ideas. I can say around that time I spotted my talent clearly. Consequently, the ideas I had noted down added up to be around six books. However, I preferred not to publish because I thought for a beginner it’d be better and safer if I started by translating others’ books into Tigrigna. “The diabolic wars”, written by Pop Shnoda, was the first book I translated. And it was amazing.
- How did you get into Geez and Tigrigna writing?
I have curiosity about Geez lexis, phonetics and the study of the alphabets. And more importantly, as Geez language is the mother language of different languages, I was curious to know and learn the language. Meanwhile, I was going to different churches and monasteries to explore Geez language. For me it is really a good experience as in Geez books I found art, philosophy, literature, architecture and sociology. It is incredible that there is a lot of secret in Geez language. Plus, while I was doing my research I was taking notes about the culture, norms and values of different societies living in Eritrea. At that time I stopped everything, my life and my family did not the matter to me. All that mattered was how to write those different and incredible things I found out about the Eritrean culture. As a result, I quit my job at the Senate International Service and focused on my writing.
In addition to that, Prof. Abebe Kifleyesus was also conducting research initiated by the Ministry of Education. The research topic was regarding the assistance of elementary students’ learning teaching process of Tigrigna language. So when the Professor called me to join the venture it felt like a life time chance. I worked on it with devotion as I knew its importance and its relevance to my own prior researches undertakings.
- How many books have you written so far?
So far, I have written 12 books. Some of them are philosophical, some of them are about the wisdom and civil laws of Eritrean society, some of them are spiritual and some others are about Geez.
- Most of your books are aimed at the youth and children. Why?
Of course I do have a reason. We Eritreans have a wonderful culture. The way we celebrate our holidays, the way we enjoy time with our families and friends, the way we dress and the way we solve our problems is very unique. This incredible culture of ours should be transferred from generation to generation. Eritrean youth are smart, resilient and unwavering to the effects of globalization. Therefore, I chose to invest my attention on the youth as I believe building a strong youth means building a strong nation.
- We do have good authors in Eritrea, what is your relationship with them like?
Yes you are right. We do have great authors here in Eritrea and their way of writing, narrative style, their passion and devotion is praiseworthy and, indeed, exceedingly remarkable. They all are my models.
Writing is not something you can do whenever you like and leave when feeling otherwise. You have to have the passion to write and learn from the experiences and ideas of those who are greater than you. Due to that, I believe I have developed good relationship with many Eritrean writers. In fact, most of them are very friendly and welcoming.
- Did you take any courses on writing?
Honestly, my life was full of ups and downs. And sometimes it is really hard to concentrate on just a specific thing. However, while working in the Senate international Service I took some online courses. In the future, if I get a chance, I have a plan to get education on literature. That way I can upgrade my writing skills, share my feelings in even more elaborated and elevated ways.
- What are your future plans?
I have plans t o w r i t e G e e z books for children. And also, as Geez is the language that our forefathers used I thought transferring this language to the children is important, so I’ll delicately focus on this.
- Before we end our conversation, is there anything you want to say?
My love to read and write is endless it’s engraved in my heart with letters of gold. So, I’m sure by developing my skills of writing I will write many more books regarding our culture. Moreover, there are countless astonishing manuscripts in different monasteries of Eritrea, and I have a keen intention to conduct research on them.
- Thank you for your time, Deacon Luwam.
Thank You Eritrea Profile for letting me share my ideas with you.