Charles Chanchori is the author of the short story “Confessions of a Kenyan Uber Driver” which he published on Facebook in Feb 2017. It was shared more than 5000 times and recieved more than 7000 likes in less than two weeks.
Tell me a little about yourself. What is your background? What have you published and where? What do you do for a living?
I studied Law at Kenyatta University here in Nairobi. Graduated in 2015. 2017 I joined the Kenya School of Law for my post graduate diploma that would allow me to practice in Kenya, but I dropped out after a few months to focus on writing. Which is what I’m doing now. Writing. I have published a couple of novels. Both self published. One is called ZOO and the second one is Hello Mother. This means I write for a living I suppose. I’m also a screenwriter with one short film out already and my first feature length movie, which I’m also producing, is in pre-production. We actually finished the last leg of the auditions today.
How did you come up with the story? Where did the idea come from?
What inspired the Confessions story? Nothing. Yeah, I know that’s a strange response to that question, but truth is, I just wrote. Nothing inspires my writing. Or any of my stories. I just pick up a device and type away.
For the Confessions story, I was on my way to class in February 2017, when I found myself with a little time on my hands. I decided to write a short story I’d been conceiving in my head, about an uber driver who ferries several passengers around Nairobi in One Night. But after I started writing, I decided to collapse all those passengers into one character. That of Charles the soldier. So on my way to class, I typed the story on my phone and posted it on Facebook where I thought it would receive the number of likes I was used to receiving for my short stories. 30, 40, maybe 70 on a very good day.
It feels to me that Confessions of a Kenyan Uber driver has enough in it to be developed into a longer text. How did you decide on the length of the text and have you considered extending it?
How did I decide on the length of the Confessions story? I didn’t. This wasn’t something I’d really thought through. It was just a random short story on Facebook. But it’s also going to be a feature length movie – the project of which is in the pre-production stage. I’m one of the two screenwriters. After that, who knows?
How has the reception been? I know the Okadabooks guys mentioned it when I asked them about titles that have done well on Okadabooks.
Let’s just say that without it, I wouldn’t have a writing career. It even got me a couple of interviews with BBC, one with NPR, not to count tens of them here in Kenya. Thanks to that story, I can now spend my life as a writer, just as I hoped I could when I was a kid.