Vulkanmedia: Tell us about your book!

Ayalew Melku: Yäfqr Ergman (Curse of Love) is a collection of poems dealing with such general questions as justice, freedom and exile, and other issues concerning Ethiopian society.

How did the book come about?

I usually write poems to myself when something bugs my soul. It's a monologue, a way to talk to myself. It works just the same when you are in dialogue with a good friend. So, over time, the poems increased both in number and scope.

Was it a finished idea or grew during the writing process?

As I said, the poems accumulated over a long period of time. In the beginning, I never thought I would publish them. That idea came a little later.

What makes you want to write? What inspires you?

It is often beauty and tragedy, as well as the search for the meaning of life that often provoke one into wanting to express oneself. That's true in my case too. Injustice bothers me, maybe more than beauty pleases me. It may sound strange, but that's how it is. The fascination with human behaviour and life itself is just as powerful, as a source of inspiration.


I also want to convey my thoughts and feelings to readers about things that are important to me.

Are you writing something new now?

I have some ideas, so we'll see if anything comes of them.

Do you have tips or advice for others who want to write a book?

(I'm in need of advice and tips myself). But, writing can be self-disclosure. So if I have to give tips to others, I say this: Read regularly and dare to write!

Why should one read your book?

Partly, to get a perspective of one's society from the outside, especially for those who have not had that opportunity, and partly compare and contrast ones’ own views and thoughts with those expressed about the various subjects I touch up on in the book. I also want to share my concerns, my wishes, and hopes with my compatriots.  

What do you do when you do not write?

I work, read and sometimes swear over a live football match!

Who would you rather read your book?

It is written to anyone who can read and understand Amharic, (for now) Ethiopia's only official working language; But mainly to Ethiopians and Eritreans.