"Meet Anna Nyakana of Niyah Zuri & The Pharaoh’s Throne in Connecticut"
ATLANTA, Georgia - September 3, 2019 ---
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When I first completed my manuscript, I gave myself one year to get it picked up by a major publisher. I received several rejection letters and eventually an interested publisher asked that I change the most fundamental element of my book; my main character. I was open to collaborating on all suggestions but could not allow Niyah Zuri to be erased; she is a fearless, headstrong, and intelligent black heroine that is destined to change the lives of all young readers. So, I overcame my own fear of failure, redefined my definition of success, and released my book independently. I have sold over 10,000 copies to date.
Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I spent a significant amount of time volunteering throughout my childhood, whether it was building schools overseas, raising funds for community organizations, or being a mentor for at-risk youth. When I was 15, I traveled to Kenya to carry out health clinics in the slums of Nairobi. I came in contact with hundreds of individuals, the majority of them being my own age or younger, who refused to allow their disease to rob them of happiness. Their joy of life was seen in their bodies as they dance-battled, heard in their voices as they laughed and sang along with the radio, and undeniable in their beaming smiles as they greeted me “Good Morning.” My new friends taught me to love and live fully each day, regardless of circumstance. It was a profound lesson that I still carry with me to this day and have instilled in my sons.
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