conversation with Uzodinma Iweala


RB: Let’s talk about Beasts of No Nation. Why did you want to write this book?

UI: I guess it was really wanting to understand what the experiences of being a child soldier—which is an odd thing to say because you can’t really understand it unless you have been one. But wanting to have deeper understanding and not just—you read newspaper articles and you hear things on the news and see pictures and [say], “Oh, wow, that’s sad.” And then you move on, you know? Every so often in your life something happens and you say, “I can’t move on from this. This isn’t something I can just put to the side and say, ‘This is happening to people and I have other things to do in my existence.’” It doesn’t work like that sometimes. Those people who really contribute to society are the ones who do that all the time. They say, “This is a problem and we are not going to brush this problem aside.” So I guess, for me it was just a small step in saying, “OK, I have seen this and I can’t brush this aside. So let me take this small step to learn more and more about it.”

more from The Morning News here.