Tell us more about yourself, who is Joseph Kolèmou?
I am Joseph Kolèmou, originally from Forest Guinea, the village of Yapagaye, located in the prefecture of Beyla. I am the son of the late Raphael and the late Elisabeth Konomou. I completed my primary and secondary education in N’zérékoré centre and high school at the minor seminary of Saint Eugène de Samoé, sub-prefecture of N’zérékoré. Then I was accepted at the major seminary of Saint Augustine in Bamako, where I did the philosophical cycle, before returning to Guinea. At the Guinean University, I obtained a Master’s degree in Private Law and afterwards, I became a lawyer.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
The dream of being a writer came to me when I was in high school, at the minor seminary of St. Eugene of Samoé, where we had a library full of books. I used to take naps there for a while to read.
Your latest book is "Le village éprouvé par le feu". What is the message you want to convey to your readers?
Through my novel, I call on my readers to become aware of the serious dangers that our exaggerated greenhouse gas emissions pose and that it will end our world because of human irresponsibility. I urge everyone to work together to mitigate the greenhouse effect and to adapt to the grave consequences of global warming in order to slow down the process of the world’s tragic disintegration. Let us assume our responsibilities by committing ourselves from now on to the path of harmonious construction of the world. My message is also to make people understand that humans should not set aside or distance themselves from the Spiritual and ecological heritage because of the materialism that corrupts everything. To love and preserve the harmony between the whole, the fundamental unity of beings and things. Also, I challenge my readers: village brothers and sisters and the Africans whom they must love and live by their traditional values or virtues. To promote the spiritual life, which inspires and guides to live the traditional virtues: solidarity, mutual aid, hospitality, respect due to life, to the elders and to the ecosystem, love of neighbour, work, courage, honour, dignity, devotion, simplicity, harmony between the whole, forgiveness, longsuffering, education by all, respect for the given word, responsibility, sincerity, recognition, benevolence, kindness, rigour, honesty, dialogue, community life, patience, vigilance, wisdom, unity, peace, … To revive this village spirit.
What comes first, the plot or the characters?
To write, I have to conceive first the idea, the sequence of facts and actions before expressing it through the play of characters. I need the plot, the framework of the novel, then comes the choice of characters. Finally, by the means of the letters, the alphabet, I materialize the work.
What would be your word of encouragement for a new author?
Don’t give up. Fulfill your dreams as a writer. It is noble to be able to think well and to share with others one’s ideas, imaginations, creations, good inspirations and intuitions. It’s not easy, but when you succeed, it’s beautiful. So be passionate about what you do and with a bit of planning, you’ll be fine.