From ESL Student to Canadian Novelist: Interview with Author Fatumo Kusow

Somali Canadian author Fartumo Kusow has spent much of 2018 traveling across Canada, the United States, with stops in the UK and Somalia, speaking about her first English-language novel “A Tale of a Boon’s Wife”, published by Second Story Press. A high school teacher in Windsor, Ontario, Fatumo has written a novel exploring the impact of social hierarchies in Somalia on the lives of everyday people before, during, and after that country’s civil war.

Muslim Link interviewed Fatumo about her personal story and how she came to write her first English language novel after coming to Canada as a refugee knowing no English in the 1990s.

I always liked languages. Both of my parents were farmers. My father could read at a basic level, but my mother can’t read or write.

They were both clear that my sister and I would receive a good education, just as good as my brothers got. I hated it at the time when I was young because girls were allowed to dropout of school and do whatever but my father wouldn’t allow it so I went to school 6 days a week from 7 in the morning to 1 o’clock and then I went to a school to memorize the Qur’an from 3 to 6 every evening and I memorized it by the time I was 13, and once I finished memorization I went to Sharia class to study Islam more in-depth.

So, I think all of this studying put me at an advantage when it came to eventually learn English.

Source: Muslim Link