Mildred K Barya graduated from Makerere University, Uganda, with a Bachelor’s degree in Literature, an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University, New York, and is currently a PhD fellow at the University of Denver, Colorado. She has published three poetry collections: Give Me Room to Move My Feet, The Price of Memory after the Tsunami, and Men Love Chocolates But They Don’t Say. Her short stories include: Bless the Broken Path, published by Northeast Review, 2014, Black Stone published by Per Contra, USA, 2012, Scars of Earth, in “The African Love Stories” Anthology, by Ayebia Clarke, UK, 2006, Effigy Child, by Commonwealth Broadcasting Association (CBA) UK, 2004, and republished in “Gifts of Harvest” FEMRITE, 2006, Land of my Bones, published in “Dreams, Miracles & Jazz” anthology, Picador, Africa, 2008, and Raindrops, published in “Words From A Granary” FEMRITE anthology, 2001. She has facilitated creative writing workshops in Uganda, taught at Alabama School of Fine Arts in Birmingham, and is a board member of African Writers Trust. She blogs at: http://mildredbarya.com/ and http://emigane.blogspot.com/

What is your greatest life, artistic, academic and creative Achievements?

I must say its writing, getting my works published and inspiring others with the same vision to write.

What roles are you playing in transforming your communities?

Teaching and promoting writing skills as one of the ways of eliminating illiteracy and promoting knowledge sharing.

 Your future prospects in your career and your life?

More publications and translations available in many languages. More readers and writers.

 Your parting shot to fellow women and girlsa-blacksmith-forge-with-an-iron-in-the-fire_photograph-copyright-sergey-dolya

Not to be afraid to pursue their dreams. To find a role model, someone who has done and succeeded at what they themselves desire but think they could never accomplish, and be inspired to take action.


A Drop of Blood

The day I got my first period,
Mother exclaimed;
You’ve become a woman!
And so I wondered,
What had I been earlier?
And how could a drop of blood
Make me a woman?

When they took my brother to the circle,
He flinched at the feel of a sharp knife.
But the elders convinced him;
‘You must not fear
Do not show any cowardice
Once we slice off the skin
You become a man.’

When mother was heavy with Junior,
She would rush off the table
And run to the sink.
The day she was taken to hospital
A bag of water dropped to the ground,
Then a drop of blood.
Father cried, ‘Woman!’

I read in the Holy Scriptures
How the Son of man was crucified
Before he breathed his last,
Water and blood flowed out
There he became man,
Who was God.

I guess there’s something in a drop of blood,
That makes us men and women.