Do scientists make better writers?
Are scientists better writers? I am talking of trained scientists, engineers and medics. They write good works of art better than` most of those writers trained in art, cultural studies and literature. This cultural experience is not only confined to contemporary arts but from time immemorial, nor from one culture but across diverse cultures.
Africa has very many cases of scientists who have prospered in the art sector. Both male and female. The likes of Yusuf Dawood, a surgeon, passionately writing with a knack of a Russian. Dawood is actually Anton Chekhov of Kenya.
The literary prizes he has received out-number the science prizes on his name. I personally treasure him as a saint of African literature in regard to his novel Water under the Bridge.
This literary virtue equally extends to another Kenyan; the late Grace Ogot (RIP), a clinical nurse turned a literary guru.
By the time of her death, towards the end of last month, I was coincidentally reading her short story, ‘The Bamboo Hut’ in the anthology African Short Story. This story by Ogot is lively, feminist, Africanist, gender focused and contemporary in values and tastes.
Lenrie Peters, Cyprian Ekwensi and Elechi Amadi cannot be forgotten. These scientists all come from West Africa. Peters is a surgeon, Ekwensi is a pharmacist, and Amadi is a chemical engineer.
But the world does not know them for science. They are all known as pillars of African literature. Ekwensi is Known for his three novels: Burning Grass, People of the City, and Loko Town. His short story, ‘The Grazing Field Law’ is also classical in its own way. Amadi is at peak of African literature. Especially, the novel and drama. ‘The Concubine’ and ‘The Great Ponds’ are Amadi’s two novels that made him to look larger than life. His drama Isiburu stands tall like in the mountains of African theatre.
The great virtue of these African scientists that became writers is that they don’t bore you with didacticism. Their works are reader-focused.
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Yusuf DawoodAnton ChekhovCyprian Ekwensi