UK-based Zimbabwean writer aims high

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UK-based Zimbabwean writer, Dr. Ross G. Cooper, said that he writes children’s books that are aimed at giving a positive image of Zimbabwe.

He added that the books provide an opportunity for Zimbabwean children born overseas to read and learn and not forget about their home country.

The writer who has a total of sixteen published books to his name said that he is currently writing a book on indigenous poultry production.

“Too much is written on negative issues of Zimbabwe, so I am trying to highlight the positive things in Zimbabwe,” said Cooper who is a senior lecturer in Physiology in Birmingham.

Cooper said that he started writing in 2008 at age 37. He said that he only picked up the pen late in life because he never had the confidence to write until he tried to do it.

“I sent my first book to seven publishers in the United Kingdom, and one of them accepted. This shows that if someone is keen on writing they must persist because eventually their book will be published. Indeed, JK Rowlings sent her first book out numerous times before it was accepted for publication. So, in essence, Zimbabweans should be encouraged to write more. There are many free self-publishing websites that can be used to avoid high editor fees,” he said.

Cooper said that he grew up in Chipinge, near Mt Selinda where he was exposed to lots of animals and nature, which he keenly writes about in many of his inspiring books.

“Because I have a good memory, I relax by writing. I am also talented in art, and draw the images for the books,” he said.

He said that his inspiration comes from nostalgia for his homeland, and that many people, including Zimbabweans, are tired of reading about politics and war.

“It’s time to write about the real things in Zimbabwe. The natural beauty, the topography and the people of Zimbabwe provide so much content with which to write about,” he said.

Most of his work is sold online through Amazon.com and Lulu.com. He said that he uses the online model of publishing because it has a higher return on investment, and the writer provides freedom to self-design books covers as well as the layout.

He revealed that most of his buyers are Zimbabweans based in the UK, Australia, South Africa and USA.

“Ninety-nine of the buyers of my books are Zimbabweans but there is also some people in India who are interested in my books for educational purposes. I hope that Zimbabwe will soon have a facility to allow people to design, publish and purchase books online,” he said. “It’s also cheaper for people to buy online than buying in a book store”.