Teacher writes book to boost reading

The cover of Mamlambo and other short stories.

An English teacher of almost 30 years has seen too many times the effect the lack of reading has on his students, and this encouraged him to write a book of short stories “for reluctant readers”.

Hidayat Adams from Ronde-bosch East, self-published his book, Mamlambo and other short stories, which ranges from very short stories with just more than 300 words to ones with more than
4 000 words.

“Some pupils don’t have the writing skills because they do not read. I’ve come to realise that much of it has to do with a person’s concentration span. There are also many adults, not just teens, who would like to read, but they think they do not have time, or they too have the issue with concentration.

“That is why I started by writing short stories. These stories were written with reluctant or weak readers in mind. Thus, the first few stories are quite short to encourage these readers to continue. The stories can, of course, be read in any order. The stories are also for those of us who dislike unnecessary details or elaborate descriptions in a tale, and just want a story to get to the point within a few pages,” he said.

The storylines in the book deal with many genres – from fantasy to science-fiction, and even those humorous stories everyone in South Africa can relate to.

Some stories leave the readers to make up the conclusion themselves.

Mr Adams gets his inspiration for his stories by observing and stories shared among his family, colleagues and friends.

Although he has written from a young age, it was only in 2002, while teaching in Saudi Arabia, that he seriously considered publishing a book.

“While in Saudi, an American bragged about how his country has the best writers. I challenged him on that and that conversation encouraged me to put serious effort into my writing. I wrote for more than 10 years and compiled it, before giving publishing consideration,” Mr Adams said.

When he decided to print his book, he gave manuscripts “to a few people” to read, to see if he was on the right track. He received constructive criticism and took the advice to heart.

“People were honest and I liked that. My wish and passion was just to have the book published. I had saved up a bit of money, and went online to do research about self-publishing. I believed in the book,” Mr Adams added.

Since his book has been published, some colleagues of Mr Adams have used it in their classrooms, and he has only received positive feedback from them.

His former English teacher, Gail Pool, whom Mr Adams is still friends with, also told him that he inspired her to start writing.

The book sells at R80 each and can be ordered by calling 066 135 1463. Mr Adams’ website is www.shortstories.co.za