Neil Thompson On His New Collection of Short Stories: Pantsula Boy

Neil Thompson has recently released a brand-new collection of short stories with Diadem Books.

Neil currently lives in Oxfordshire, England, but he grew up in South West Africa (currently Namibia) and lived there for many years. He loves to travel and has spent a lot of time meeting people from various backgrounds and cultures. This has inspired his writing in capturing cultures and locations. Neil’s debut novel, an anthology of short stories, ‘Running Before That Wind’ was published in 2010. Set in Mali, his second novel ‘Earthshine’ was published in 2012.

Neil talks about his inspiration for Pantsula Boy here:

The inspiration for this collection of short stories comes from various sources and it is always about people. I am intrigued in the way certain events can collide, chance meetings between individuals who know each other, and how true-life coincidence is sometimes stranger than fiction.

Travelling where I do often brings this home to me. In remote and unusual settings, one meets and inter-acts with the most interesting people – my writing is based on these encounters.

No specific research was undertaken for this book. The events and encounters were either experienced first-hand or in conversation and consultation with people I have met. Some changes in places and dates may have been done in order to achieve continuity.

Wherever I go, there always seems a story to be told.

I regard myself as a white African.

I have a deep affinity with Southern Africa and Africa as a whole, having grown up in Namibia (previously known as South West Africa) during the apartheid era. As an English-speaking boy from a very poor family background, life in those days was very difficult. Aside from the large black population, the existing German and Afrikaans communities tended to view English speakers with suspicion and antagonism.

This led to me spending a lot of time outdoors and in the game and nature reserves. From this time spent, I gained a huge appreciation for the environment, the rural people and their way of life, and for the world around us.

There are still areas of Southern Africa almost untouched by the progress of modern times – I find this humbling yet, at the same time, compulsively interesting.

I am not a professional or full-time writer, yet still try and write every day even if it is only a few words. In fact, much of my draft writing has been done in the areas and countries I describe in my stories. My first drafts are always done in long-hand before being typed electronically.

I hope that readers will find ‘Pantsula Boy and other African stories’ an absorbing and enjoyable read. I have tried to introduce the reader to totally different places and characters, hopefully to capture the readers’ attention and spark their interest.

In the greater scheme of things, I would like to expose my writing to a wide readership and successful review.

Having only commenced writing after I turned fifty, I have so many overflowing ideas. I am currently working on two novellas and a short story, all of which should be completed early in 2021.

‘Pantsula Boy’ is available as an ebook or paperback from Amazon, and also from the publisher’s website

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