A Conversation With Kya Mara | We Are The House

We’re delighted to announce Raising Mothers’ 2022 We Are The House: A Virtual Residency for Early-Career Writers, which is a year-long online residency with Raising Mothers for one BIPOC nonfiction writer. The residency is dedicated to helping early-career, underrepresented writers who are also parents build their writing portfolio. The 2022 recipient of We Are The House: A Virtual Residency for  Early-Career Writers is Kya Mara. Learn more about the residency here. 

What places inspire you to write and create?

Nature and the outdoors-at-large inspire my thoughts and lead to my writing and creativity. I write anywhere really. For example I once had words flowing out of my mind and hands once in an emergency room. I like to write in the dead of the night when I can hear silence, too.

How do you balance being a writer and a mother?

Honestly, I do not! [laughs] My writing tends to suffer with hardly any time to write or finish a piece, or when it is finished, I fail to edit it. But motherhood inspires my writing, so I suppose they complement each other after all. So for me, it’s not balancing but more inspirational. 

What legacy do you hope to leave for your children?

I sure hope and pray that my girls, and well my nephews and nieces too, will always be present! What I mean is: I hope they will always create memories by being fully present in everything that they do. That they will always find confidence in their passions and dreams and to never let anything labeled a mistake define them. As Kahlil Gibran said, I would hope that they will always know that they are the children of the future!

What’s a fun fact or tidbit about yourself that you wish more people knew?

Mmmmhhh… I was crazy about being a spy. The image I had was of a great female spy like those portrayed in the movies. Also, when I was young, I loved meat so much and worried about the expense to my mother that I planted meat so it would grow and I hoped we would pick it like the tea leaves. Please note, my mother and her family are tea growers!

What do you hope to get from your residency with Raising Mothers?

I hope that I will be an inspiration. I hope that this will be the beginning of closing the door to procrastination and that this will anchor me and other women who dream of publishing their stories to make it possible to find their voice and overcome fear.

Photo courtesy of Kya Mara

Kya Mara
is an East African immigrant to Quebec, Canada. She is a single mother of two daughters. She was introduced to reading by her mother who was a keen literature student and, to-date, loves reading. Kya never gained the confidence of calling herself a writer until 2020 when she joined A Writing Life of Your Own, a scholarship she earned from Juniper Editing & Creative. Even though back in secondary school she had written a winning composition that earned her a scholarship where her school fees were paid for two years, she never considered herself talented enough. Fast forward, she is very excited about the opportunity of being the
inaugural WATH writer-in-residence for Raising Mothers as she also embarks on crafting her memoir—something she has desired to do for years. 

Learn more about the residency here. 


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DW McKinney is a Black American essayist and interviewer living in Nevada. She writes about life and graphic novels for CNMN Mag and is an avid book reviewer. Her creative nonfiction and fiction have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and Best Microfiction. And DW’s work has been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, Narratively, JMWW Journal, wigleaf, [PANK] Magazine, The New Southern Fugitives, Raising Mothers, and elsewhere. She’s always interested in meeting new people.