M I C H E L L E . N K A M A N K E N G
Name: Michelle Nkamankeng
Talent: Creative Writing
Country: South Africa
Notable Achievements: Global top 10 list of youngest writers, Author of published children’s book,‘Waiting in the waves’
At 7 years of age, Michelle Nkamankeng has achieved a feat most children could only dream of. She is the youngest author to grace the Global top 10 list of published authors (the first from South Africa).
Inspired by a family visit to a seaside resort at the age of 5, Michelle began working on her 1st book, ‘Waiting in the waves’. By the time she had turned six, Michelle had completed what would form the first of a four-part book series.
Michelle’s father Paul Nkamankeng revealed he had no idea his daughter was writing a book: “I just laughed it off and didn’t think anything of it. She started grabbing papers from our printer and folded them to look like a book, and she did all of this in secret. We had no idea what she was doing until she gave her mother the handwritten, stapled-together and Sellotaped manuscript. She said, ‘Mom, this is my book!,” Paul says. “We were very surprised.”
As Michelle progressed to finish her second, third and fourth book, her father described how she grew increasingly tired of her parents storing them away.
“She told us that if we had no plans of publishing at least one of her books, she would stop writing. That’s when we started taking it seriously and took her books to people who were in the writing industry.”
Road to Success
Michelle’s first book, Waiting in the Waves, is about a little girl named Titi, who although is having fun with family at a beach resort, struggles greatly as she fears the waves coming from the sea.
Describing the road to success, Michelle’s mother Laurentine described how she had to learn how to publish a book in order to help her daughter’s dream come true. The family eventually created their own publishing company, LANSM Publishing LTD.
The books in her four part series include:
1.’Waiting in the Waves’
2. ‘The little girl who believes on herself’
3.’The little mouse’ &
4.’The Golden Ring.’
Michelle’s father Paul explains the books in more detail: “For the first book, she mostly used her experience from the beach and how she overcame her fear of the waves.
The next book from the series, The Little Girl Who Believes in Herself, is about her progressing from her fear of the waves to her gaining confidence in herself as a little girl growing up,” Paul says.
“The third one is called The Little Mouse. It is about finding herself in a world where there are many challenges that she can’t understand. It’s more of a progress of how she sees life from her eyes,” he says.
“We spent two months in total from editing the book, adding the illustrations, to finally publishing the book.
The challenge is always to maintain the delicate balance in Michelle’s life, given the exposure she is receiving. She is an independent and humble girl who loves being her normal self despite the attention, and it is my main role to ensure this is respected.”
Although she has finished all four books in her first series, Waiting in the waves is the first and only to be published due to financial constraints. Her parents Paul and Laurentine are hoping to generate enough income from this launch in order to fund the publishing of her second book, ‘The little girl who believes in herself’. Using her talent, Michelle aims to reach disadvantaged readers especially children who cannot afford to buy literature. She is hoping to garner sponsors who will help her open the world of reading to communities most affected by illiteracy.
Speaking on her achievement, Michelle says, “I feel happy, excited and very proud of myself. I loved reading from the age of four. Writing is fun to me and I will continue to write in my spare time.’
Michelle’s advice to other hopeful young writers is, “Do not be afraid to go for your dream. Do not give up, even if you make many mistakes or face obstacles.”
Michelle represents an era of upcoming young talented African writers. We’ll be following her journey closely!
To order your copy of Waiting for the Waves, contact Laurentine on +27 (0)82 688 6172. It is hoped the book will be available on Amazon from 15 October2016.