Chat with Johnson Grace Maganja

1, Tell us about yourself.

My name is Johnson Grace Maganja. I was born in Kaharo-Kabale district in Uganda. I am a professional primary school teacher and journalist. I have a rich experience of over 10 years working with several print and electronic media houses in Uganda in different capacities. I hold reading sessions for children as a venue of promoting the reading culture in Uganda. Currently, I am an Administrator with a leading book manufacturing company in Kampala, Uganda.

2. Tell us about the first story you ever wrote. when, where and what was it about?

I had always wanted to write a novel about my life but my only writing experience had been the letter contributions I usually sent to The New Vision, Monitor, other newspapers, and magazines back then!
I felt that I had so much to say but I didn’t know how to summarise it in one compact read. I was inspired by a writing style of the writer Richard Templar (pen name) who wrote Rules of Life, Rules of Work, Rules of Love, and The Rules of Wealth. I had read all these books and they are what inspired me to summarise my life experience in the form of quotes. This was year 2000 and 100 Quotes Through Life was born. Whenever I could, I wrote; at night after work and during slow moments at work. The second version includes a forward and comments from people who had read the first version.

3. How have you found the reception to Ugandan authors?

I will speak for myself here. It all depends one whether one believes in their work and what they hear and believe people say about Ugandan authors. If you have a negative attitude and have a low self-esteem about yourself, you will reap from what you sow. I refuse to be put down by anybody. I believe in my work and never compare it to any one’s, though, I also believe that we each have different writing styles and different experiences to write about. My books are largely based on my life experience over the years.

4. Are you self-published? What hurdles have you faced?

I have self-published all my three books;100 quotes through life, Passage to destiny (a Novel), and The Adventures of Musigi. I decided to self-publish because Traditional publishing houses were too expensive and took a lot of time to approve one’s work. Some prefer to deal with already established authors. Another hurdle I faced was selling my books to some book stores, and again, some book stores prefer dealing with already established authors and publishing companies. However, I strongly believe that being a self-publisher is the best option. One is in control of one’s work.

5. What would you like to see change in Uganda’s publishing industry?

The government and NGO’s should also fund authors who self-publish. Taxes on paper production and machinery should also be reduced. The government should also help in marketing books by Ugandan authors on the international market.

6. What do you prefer? Paperback or eBook

I prefer Paperback. It’s timeless and a physical asset one can preserve for the young generations to read! It’s simply classic! It also feels good holding a book because the word therein never die!

7. What innovations do you see the publishing industry adopting? Existing or not.

Publishing houses orienting aspiring writers into the industry by introducing them to book designers and illustrators, teaching them about the importance of an ISBN for their book. Publishing houses should also promote aspiring writers on their platforms and workshop. This should be done in rural areas too
Publishing houses offering services in book translation.
E-book are good but many people can’t access if they don’t have Smart phones or internet services in their community. Some good books are also very expensive. I believe books should me made available to all at an affordable price.

8. Tell us of any future projects and what your readers should expect.

I am planning to translate my books to local languages, so that they can be read in throughout Uganda, East Africa and Africa. Lastly, to also target the international market. I also plan to shoot films based on my books.

Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


We are glad that you preferred to contact us. Please fill our short form and one of our friendly team members will contact you back.