30 Under 30: Rahawa Haile, Writer

Photo by Nicolas Maloof
Photo by Nicolas Maloof

This week marks the release of our annual 30 Under 30 issue, and because each of these individuals is so interesting, we thought we’d further highlight them by running some brief interviews with them.

Name: Rahawa Haile
Age: 30
Neighborhood: Bed-Stuy
Occupation: Writer

Who would be your choice for a 30 Under 30?
Hannah Giorgis and Jamie Lauren Keiles

Who are your role models in your industry?
Lisa Lucas and Jazmine Hughes

What was a turning point for you, when you realized you could make a career out of something you loved to do?
Alas, I’ve yet to reach the point where all I do is write, live, and eat pizza. I’m unsure how attainable that is for fiction writers in New York without a patron, trust fund, full-time university position, lottery income, DeLorean, high-earning partner, pet money tree, or bank robbing outfit. Still, one endures.

What’s some advice you’d have for people looking to get a foothold in your industry?
You don’t have to read That Book everyone is talking about by that writer you hate. Ever. (Really!) Other than that, write and read as much as possible. Listen more. Don’t obsess over Twitter. Don’t take on massive debt, especially if you are a person of color.

Do you feel Brooklyn is still a viable place for young people to build a career?
That depends. Are you a woman? Are you a writer of color? What type of writing? Regardless, it’s incredibly difficult to build a career that provides enough financial stability for a writer in New York. It’s possible! But difficult.

Have you ever felt like leaving your career path?
Goodness, yes. I wouldn’t trust anyone who says otherwise.

What’s felt like your biggest professional accomplishment?
At the start of 2015, I decided to post one short story a day to Twitter by a woman or writer of color. The point was to bang readers, editors, and lit agents over the head with the reality that many minorities are producing incredible work with minimal recognition. The response has been tremendous.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Am I still a black women? Has the housing market collapsed yet? I can say I hope I’m not freelancing full-time! I’d also like at least one published short story collection under my belt and a loving sentence to spoon at night.

Follow Rahawa Haile on twitter @rahawahaile



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