Who is Audrey Chirenje?
I have a degree in Marketing, currently I work in the Hardware Department of a Chain Wholesaler in Zimbabwe. I am a single parent to three beautiful girls and I come from Chihota, I grew up in Avondale West and I did my ECD at Chirenje School, then proceeded to Avondale Junior School up until grade 5. Then went into boarding school at Waddilove Primary School until grade 7 and for my high school I was at Waddilove High School.
Where does your passion for writing come from?
My late Dad was an avid reader so naturally we adopted that culture. Our house was full of books growing up. I was also always ‘artsy’ as I was in the school choir in all the schools I went to, I was also in the Drama and Interact Club. I was always an inquisitive person and I would question things.
What was the inspiration behind your books, Life Will Humble You and Chances?
Life Will Humble You: the inspiration came from a culmination of events over the years in my life. I then had that ahaaa! moment where I realised that you can have your ducks in a row, and solid plans but life will throw curve balls in your path and it won’t happen like you had penned it out. Hence the title of the book first and then I came up with a fictitious storyline with 10% of true events.
Chances: was inspired by the teen in me who thought anything was possible and I loved action novels and movies.
Who are some of your favourite writers and why?
Jackie Collins – Read her books growing up, she was bold and candid.
Yvonne Maphosa – Young and modern perspective and she brings that nostalgia of Zimbabwe though she is based in South Africa.
Ralph Kadurira – He hammers on purpose and he is consistent through his books and programs.
Doris Mufara – She is inspiring and speaks of structure and order in a relatable way.
Sue Nyathi – She is cool, sassy and brings to life Zimbabwean stories.
Simbarashe Nyamadzawo – He has books on a motivational tip and fiction novels where his storytelling is rich.
Which of their books inspire you the most?
Jackie Collins – The World is Full of Married Men & Lady Boss
Yvonne Maphosa – Grasping Straws and The Y in Your Man is Silent
Ralph Kadurira – Short Time & Fighting Ignorance
Doris Mufara – Dare
Sue Nyathi – The Polygamist
Simbarashe Nyamadzawo – Emerge & Tatenda
What do you want people to feel when they read your books?
My characters are flawed people with issues just as most of us are in real life. So, I want people to realise that there is always hope, they can always try again, and it might just work out no matter the situation whether it’s relationships, business, or a career.
Where can people buy your books?
In Zimbabwe at Fantastic Books and Innov8 Bookstores. Online on Amazon.
How have you navigated life as a new author and what have been the highs and lows of the journey so far?
It’s been interesting, I am an Introvert, so I was initially scared to be in the public space. My sisters strongly encouraged me to publish. The feedback from the readers has been my high and some big names endorsing me. Another pleasant surprise was one talking of turning the one book into a film production. The low has been on the time aspect, it’s now crazy hectic. Also, people then want to label you based on their own perceptions.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the Zimbabwean publishing industry?
Mainstream focuses more on Academia hence why most people are resorting to the self-publishing route. The writers are very supportive of each other though by buying each other’s books. On social media they also rally behind each other and that must be commended.
What more can be done to promote writers?
We should encourage a reading culture outside schoolbooks in the country from an early age. The support for Writers and Poets should increase so that it can be something that people aspire to be. Methinks more attention is given to Sports people and Musicians.
Who are the rocks in your life?
My three daughters Atrishya, Anitrah and Annika, my sister in Law Liznet, brother Mark, Mum, sisters Grace, Tarisai, Thelma, Linah and Marlene. My friends Mirriam, Beatrice, Felistas, Ruth, Yvonne, Nokhutula, Raviro and Monica and my Creator.
What advice would you offer to upcoming writers?
Just write and be you. Embrace your uniqueness there are people out there who will like your style and your stories. So, start – TODAY.
What are the top 5 songs in your playlist right now?
1. Brian Nhira – Love Love
2. Janet Manyowa – Many Blessings
3. Sam Smith – Nirvana
4. Sandra Chirenje – Elgibor
5. Plaxedes Wenyika – Zvekare
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Own your flaws and be you. I am are here because of that advice, I owned my being weird and my crazy inquisitive mind.
How do you want to be remembered?
As someone who entertained and inspired people through my writing.
F.B Page – Audrey Chirenje Author
Twitter – @anchirenjethe