Episode 46: How Corporate America Prepared Maaza Mengiste to be an Internationally Published Author (Part I of II) - Shereen Kassam | FunnyBrownGirl

Episode 46: How Corporate America Prepared Maaza Mengiste to be an Internationally Published Author (Part I of II)


This week’s guest: Maaza Mengiste, the author of The Shadow King, selected by the New York Times as one of the 100 most notable books of 2019


Who is Maaza Mengiste?

Maaza Mengiste is a novelist and essayist. She is the author of the forthcoming novel (September 24, 2019), The Shadow King, called “a brilliant novel…compulsively readable” by Salman Rushdie. Her debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, was selected by The Guardian as one of the 10 best contemporary African books and named one of the best books of 2010 by Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, and other publications. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Fulbright Scholar Program, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Creative Capital. Her work can be found in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, Granta, The Guardian, The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and BBC, among other places. Maaza’s fiction and nonfiction examines the individual lives at stake during migration, war, and exile, and considers the intersections of photography, memory, and violence. She was a writer on the documentary projects, GIRL RISING and THE INVISIBLE CITY: KAKUMA.


Key Questions answered by Maaza Mengiste:

  • When did Maaza’s Creative Journey begin?
  • Why did she not pursue writing in College?
  • Is an MFA necessary?
  • How she balances working and writing?


Maaza Mengiste Discusses:


  • Working in Corporate America and what it helped her learn
  • Why she transitioned in to advertising and then to Hollywood
  • Why she finally made the decision to get her MFA
  • The benefits of an MFA
  • How she finds time to write with her schedule


Key Takeaways from Maaza Mengiste:


  1. Every job you have is teaching you something for a higher purpose
  2. Don’t be complacent
  3. Embrace your restlessness as a form of ambition
  4. Utilize your time after work to work on your passion
  5. As long as you’re doing something towards that dream, it’s moving, you just can’t feel it
  6. Change your schedule and your patterns to make time for your passion

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Social Media Info

Connect Online:  

Maaza Mengiste – www.maazamengiste.com

Shereen Kassam – www.funnybrowngirl.com



Maaza Mengiste – @maazamengiste

Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl



Maaza Mengiste – @maazamengiste

The Shadow King – @theshadowkingnovel

Shereen Kassam – @funnybrowngirl





Check out this episode!