Genevieve Delali Antonio is a Ghanaian writer whose love for writing begun at a tender age. Her book ‘A Garland for the Soul’ which is an anthology of poems seeks to speak courage and hope especially to people battered emotionally. It covers poems of pain, virtue, encouragement, life, faith and memories.
Read the amazing chat we had with Genevieve about the book below.
Tell us about yourself
I am officially Genevieve Delali Antonio but I love going by Gen Delali. I I’m a 20-something year young lass. I live in Ghana, where there’s lots of sunshine. 😉 Writing is my escape and i love to curl up and read. I love acoustic, folk worship music, singing, butterflies and the colour purple (no, not the movie. i mean the color itself.) Oh, and turquoise too! I’m definitely a girly-girl. I don’t mind whimsically musing every now and then. That’s what happens when you’re a writer. 😉 I love writing poems, short stories, fiction and nonfiction. I totally love beautiful natural scenic stuff…deep blue skies…colorful flowers…sunsets…a range of gorgeous mountains…sunrises…lakes…the horizon where blue meets blue. Nature seriously takes my breath away and reminds me of the beautiful Artist that God is. I find peace and a deeper connection with Him when I dwell on these miracles.
How and when did your writing journey begin?
I trace my love for writing all the way back to when I was a little girl. Back then I loved keeping journals some of which I wrote in pig latin so that in case anyone at home became nosy enough and decided to read the fellow would be confused. Hahahah. Oh well, so aside diary and journaling, I grew up writing poems and short fiction. I remember in grade eight when I was about fourteen years I wrote poems about how I felt when I hurt a close friend and when they hurt me. As a teenager, I still kept diaries. What heavily influenced my writing was all the tons and tons of story books and novels I read as a girl growing up. I read lots of the Baby Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin and Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal. There is a good number of letter writing, diary keeping and introspective messages embedded in these books so they heavily influenced me in my writing journey.
Writing is one of the few things that helps me make sense of this world and I’m thankful I did not lose it as I grew. I continued writing poems and stories through senior high in OLA Girls, Ho in the Volta Region of Ghana where a couple of my poems made it in the School’s magazine. I felt convicted to pursue Creative Writing in my third and fourth years at the University of Ghana, Legon. I started keeping a blog and writing blog posts during my final year too. That’s how my writing journey has been like. It’s been quite the adventure!
What inspired you to write A Garland for the Soul?
I was inspired by diverse circumstances and life situations while I wrote each poem in this book which is my first anthology of poems. A good part are the pieces from my Creative Writing/ Advanced Creative Writing portfolio at the university. I was required to submit a poem each week for review by my lecturers; Dr. Mawuli Adzei and Prof. Kofi Anyidoho of the English Department. I remember so well how I was dreamy around that time about publishing my works someday. I had no idea it would only be a few years after my university education. After my national service at the Faculty of Law at my alma mater when life became a bit confusing and my path seemed so unclear I poured out my heart in poetry and eventually after the Lord lifted me from the cyclone of confusion. I put 50 of my works together to create A Garland for the Soul. the span of time I used in writing all fifty poems are about three years, starting from my third year till the year after my one year national service.
Can you tell us a little more about it?
This book is full of poems for the humans who have especially been battered emotionally. It seeks to speak courage and hope to the reader. It has six categories of poetry covering Pain, Virtue, Encouragement, Life, Faith and Memories.
What are three things you gained and lost in the process of writing this book?
Mmmh, let’s see…I would say throughout the writing process I gained clarity, wisdom and diligence. As I searched within myself in light of the Scriptures I identified so much clutter in heart that I need to purge to make me be at peace with God, myself and others. I wrote as I was inspired by the Holy Spirit, His discipline of diligence in being faithful in my stewardship of the gift of writing was being instilled in me.
What keeps you going every day?
Jesus. This man who is my Soul Gardener encourages me to keep being true to who He made me to be; a writer who seeks to encourage others with her life experiences and keen observation and perceiving heart. He convicts me through His Holy Spirit to write what is true, what is real, what brings healing to wounded hearts. I ran on the energy and strength of Jesus.
What’s your advice to an aspiring writer.
Dear aspiring writer, write one true sentence. And continue. Never stop. You do not have to look so far to get ideas for writing. Write what you know. How about writing about your life story either in prose or poetry? Your own life is a wealth of writing material. You live each day. You experience things, whether good or bad, you feel emotions that are sometimes like a raging storm and other times they may be free and fun. Start there. Be honest, be vulnerable with your writing, be authentic and do not worry about what others will say about what you write when you choose to be brave to share what you write with the world. Writing is a powerful craft. Words are your tools, use them well, use them to build up, not tear down.
In one sentence, how would you like to be remembered?
I would love to be remembered as the human whose words carried love, joy and hope to hurting hearts.
A Garland for the Soul
By Genevieve Delali Antonio
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