Mia Arderne is one of six authors currently in residence in Somerset East, courtesy of the Jakes Gerwel Foundation and PEN South Africa.
Izak de Vries asked her a few questions.
Where do you come from?
I'm from Bellville South, Cape Town.
When in your life did you decide, “I am a writer”?
When I was 13 years old, maybe younger, I started writing and decided I was a writer. There was a time in my life a few years back when I gave up on writing completely. But I've always known deep down that I'm a writer.
The stay is made possible thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Jakes Gerwel Foundation, but you applied for this residency through a PEN centre. How did you hear about PEN and the residency?
I heard about PEN and the residency through Penguin, the publishing house; they alerted me to it via email.
What do you hope to achieve during the residency?
I hope to work on my second book, a young adult fantasy novel. I am happy to say that I'm more than halfway through my first draft.
How do you like being with other writers?
Writing is usually such a solitary thing, and it can get lonely. So, being surrounded by other writers has been amazing. Being in a space where six of us are together and working, feels like I'm part of a community of artists where we can share our processes and our progress. I've been learning a lot, especially from more experienced writers.
Somerset East is a small town. Is the silence good for your writing?
Yes, the tranquillity here is starkly different from the drone of the city. It feels like writing is what I'm supposed to be doing here, which is a rare and special feeling.
- Photography: Izak de Vries