The author of ‘Et andet menneske, et andet liv’ [An other person, an other life] and ‘Den nordiske mands hævn’ [The Nordic man’s revenge] Sofie Jama has lived a life of contrasts, which has inspired her writing. We found the refugee turned model turned author for a talk about inspiration, provocation, and perspectives.
How and when did your passion for the written word begin?
My passion started when I was in my early teens. I discovered that writing opened my mind to a hidden universe of thoughts and eventually stories. When I sat down to write, I suddenly had access to a wonderful world of imagination and freedom.
What do you know now that you wished you had known before writing your own novels?
Writing about personal secrets and provocative issues can have dire consequences. After my first book, I lost contact to my family, because they thought I was offending them and therefore didn't want to have contact with me.
In my second book, I wrote about female abuse of men. It provoked a lot of women, and the topic was so toxic that I believe it blurred some of my reviewers’ critique. I discovered, being a Somali, Muslim woman, it is expected that I only write about specific topics.
I couldn't care less, off course. I write what I want and what makes sense to me. After all, as an artist, integrity is my most valuable possession.
Why do you write? And how do you want your words to affect your readers?
I write about all the dark secrets of human nature: obsession, sex, abuse of power. I try to give voice to marginalised groups and neglected voices. My first novel was about refugees coming to Europe, three different accounts put together in one coherent narrative over almost a century. In my second book, my protagonist was a very religious Muslim woman, who had a very strong sexual desire and became obsessed with stalking a white, Danish man. My main goal is to entertain while giving insight into hidden groups and subcultures of our society. I want readers to feel deeply with my characters, even when they do immoral and outrageous things. I love to provoke an outroar with my writing.
How does your own personal journey influence your writing?
My personal journey has sculpted the uniqueness of my writing and given me a hidden chamber of shining pearls. I grew up as a nomad girl in Somaliland. I never went to school. I lived through a civil war. I survived years of famine. I saw acts of cannibalism.
And then I arrived in Denmark as a teenager. And then everything got really, really crazy.
Is there anything else you’re passionate about at the moment?
I recently had a child, so I guess he is my all-consuming passion. So, to be honest, I am not working on anything. I am busy being a mother, and I love it.
However, there are some ideas in my mind. I want to write about motherhood, about my mother and about me as a mother. About mothers and daughters, I suppose…
Passion; also known as dedication, as hunger, it is the desire to destroy oneself for one’s art. To tear down, move, or start over in order to rebuild and expand. The feeling of not being able to let go. It is a human condition that most are bound by.
Even though we are JUST human, JUST women, JUST female, we all have that drive that makes us ‘more than’. It is what makes us-, our stories-, and our creations unique. From a job, to a child, to a hobby gone wild, we, and you, are more than JUST female. We have gathered some of the most inspiring Danish women that we know for a talk about passion, creativity, and the balance between worklife and homelife.
Let their inspiring stories, trials and errors be a reminder that we all can struggle, we can fail, but something will always have us return to that same place of passion. And maybe the point is not necessarily to succeed, but to have given it your all, and grown in the process.
Tell us about your passion, struggle, and successes!