Her essay told how the outsider bearing witness can bring a new dimension to the familiarIn 2000 I published The Devil That Danced on the Water, a memoir of my father and my country, Sierra Leone. The country was emerging from civil war, still reeling from the violence, which most people simply didn’t see coming. Yet my father, who had been a political prisoner in the 1970s, had foreseen it. He had put his thoughts down on paper, writing that if the country continued on its path towards a one-party state, it would end in war. That was 1975, shortly before his death. My memoir was an attempt, among other things, to discover how a country implodes.Before becoming a writer I had worked as a BBC journalist. Frustrated by the constraints of reporting, I found myself drawn not just to longer form, but to fiction. I became obsessed with tracing beginnings, from the first flap of the butterfly’s wings to the roar of the hurricane of war.Around the time I started my first novel, I came across the words: “Non-fiction uses fact to help us see the lies. Fiction uses metaphor to help us see the truth.” I pinned the …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books