When I first accepted that I was an artist of some kind, I promised myself that I would never hide my insecurities...that it would become a part of my work...and because I had spent most of my childhood and early teen years in psychiatric care, it was very important to me that my work possess a multi-dimensional otherworldliness, similar to what had fascinated me as a teen about silent films of the 1920's, about Sylvia Plath's poems, Curtis Mayfield records and Toni Morrison novels.
As I've stated in my autobiography...I believe that my work and that my art, at its core, is a constant struggle for "sincerity". In my mind, "sincerity" is what makes a hit record, a classic novel or a poem live forever, and as a writer and public figure, I endeavored to write about very painful realities--things that have been killing me inside all my life--but I wanted to imbue them with a beauty and with a separate voice. I wanted them to live on their own, independent of me, held up by their own truth. But, of course, as one of those children that the world does not revolve around, I also wanted them serve me. My agenda. At last, I want to be served!
In many ways, I've accomplished that. "Pure Nigger Evil" (not yet published in USA), "Long Train to the Redeeming Sin", "Nile River Woman", "Flesh and the Devil", "The Sexy Part of the Bible" and "Diary of a Lost Girl" and the upcoming "She Wiped It On the Wall" are more than just stories, fables and poems. They are political statements and brisk testimonies; wrenching prayers--and I thank you--those who have acknowledged my actual work and not been so cynical of a person from a different culture and a different mindset. It is a blessing to my life that I am able to be heard and to have this...coloring book.
Though I have no formal education whatsoever, my books are studied now in universities and famous people (sometimes literary people that I admired as a teen) contact me to say how moved they were by my writing or how impressed they are with my skill. Truly this is wonderful. But just as well...there is the ugly side.
The constant publicity of my past with Osama Bin Laden, publicity that was initiated by the British press, and my struggle to create a womanist identity rooted in my Nilotic heritage and black acculturation causes me to be routinely misunderstood and widely smeared and slandered by the American media. What has been a sincere attempt on my part to invent and control my own public image is continuously used against me--to make me appear a crazy and flamboyant figure. I agree with the Nigerian poet Tolulope Ogunlesi when he says that my career reminds him very much of the beginnings of Zora Neale Hurston's...and this is further exemplified by editors at the major American publishing houses demanding---"You're such a brilliant writer...why can't you be more like Z.Z. Packer? Why can't you be more like Zadie Smith?"
But I am Kola Boof. I began as a model and actress. I never went to college as those women did. I was very politically involved with the Sudanese People's Liberation Army and I spent more time on my back (lost to myself) sleeping with men to "to try and be found" than I ever spent in any writer's colonies or writer's workshops. I lived a highly remarkable child and teenhood, one so emphatically traumatic that most people would claim it's "unbelievable". And yet...it's the truth. It's my truth and it's what makes me special and sets me apart from all others.
I call myself "The living woman"...because that's my prayer for my art, my beliefs and my convictions...my love for my people. I want to have unlimited success. I want to be heard and I want to be large enough to instigate and bring about change...real CHANGE...in the lives of black women and girls. No more being called "strong black women", I want to advance my own mantra..."the living woman"...those of us whose loyalty is to our wombs and who endeavor to live our lives for our own paradise and not the ends of all who betrayed us.
I want to set the seeds for the restoration of Africa and to humanize and affirm blackness--by itself, not mixed--but BLACK as in all black put together. I want to see a revolution of authentic blackness born in those who are truly black in color, because for the people with black skin and African hair...the more things have changed, the more they've stayed the same.
Kola Boof has been interviewed by MSNBC (2-part interview), CNN, FOX and featured in Time, the NY Times, TV Guide, Harper's, Yahoo News and NY Post. Her next novel, "I Am My Own Daughter" comes out in 2015.
Because of the Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab tone of Boof's novels and poems...death Threats forced the author into U.S. government protection for 5 years and have been a defining feature in her literary career. For many years Boof was forced to live in hiding and had to assume a range of false identities while in hiding that caused reporters to believe she didn't exist, but Boof says she didn't want to be found or interviewed.
Kola Boof is a professional cook. She says cooking is therapy for her. Boof survived brain sarcoma in 2008. In a 2007 interview with PACIFICA RADIO ...Kola Boof explained who she is and what her work is about. (*Read transcription below).
Kola Boof in her own words: