Misky Nur Abdullahi, 19, is a poet from Mandera County. She is a great debater who in the past took part in many competitions, coming out of them with awards.
Beginning this week, Misky, who is now actively involved in community service, intends to tour the North Eastern region of Kenya.
Armed with her book of poems and a gift hamper, she discloses that she is going to organise debate competitions with which she seeks to influence and change the mind-sets of the young people, who are her main target.
She will also distribute sanitary pads to girls, prioritising the areas where there is acute shortage.
Her poetry book titled Reset, which she published last year, attracted the attention of many including political leaders.
The launch of the book was attended by leaders from the North Eastern region and others from across the country.
She recalls with nostalgia, that the book has made her meet the President of Djibouti, Ismail Omar Guelleh.
Misky Nur spoke to Nation.co.ke
What was your writing journey like?
I began to have an interest in writing when I was in lower primary school. With time, my mastery of the languages improved.
I was an ardent reader of the newspapers which arrived one day late because it is the buses that delivered the papers to Mandera. I also took advantage of the debate club to air what I believed in.
I started writing at the age of 10. By the time I enrolled for secondary education, I had three manuscripts ready for publishing. Financial constraints became a major setback.
I came up with an idea of selling t-shirts branded with my name. I used the proceeds to publish my first book of poems Reset.
I was fortunate because the branded t-shirts, and I later included hoodies, attracted the attention of many including leaders who helped with the launch of my book. I have since presented the book in numerous places.
Which concerns do you address in your writing?
The northern part of Kenya is riddled with many challenges. It is these that I dwell in in my writing. They include early marriages, Female Genital Mutilation and drug abuse.
The education of the girl child is not a priority. Worse still, the girls who manage to go to school end up dropping out, painfully, due to menstrual challenges since sanitation pads are not availed all over.
I also touch on issues of poor leadership, tribalism and corruption.
How has your family supported your journey?
Apart from a ceaseless encouragement to keep at it, the t-shirts which I sold, and still sell, to raise publishing fees came from them.
How has your childhood informed your writing?
I had friends who got married immediately after primary school and many more dropped out of school due to lack of school fees. I witnessed small boys indulge in drug and substance abuse.
As a human, when you witness such things around you, you are touched. These among others became a driving force as I sought to reset mind sets.
Do you enjoy reading your poems to others?
I do. I love it. One of the ways I encourage people to read my book is by taking it out there to them.
I address crowds about my poetry, reading one or two but while keen on challenging them to order for a copy and read more themselves.
What is the best writing advice you have ever received?
That writing is a bumpy ride but with a beautiful end when you see the fruits of the journey. That I should receive all criticism positively and use them to make a difference.
Who are your favourite poets?
I honestly love Shakespeare.
Are there any types of books you don’t enjoy reading?
I love reading what is written, as long as it is informative. However, I do not like reading fiction and so, wouldn’t enjoy even if I read one.
Misky Nur’s book costs Sh 1000 and can be obtained by placing an order at www.reset.co.ke