First Language(s): French, Spanish
Second Language(s): English
Léti is a French and Dominican poet and creator currently completing an MA in creative writing in London after teaching English as a Second Language in France for a few years. Léti started writing at the age of 12, when growing up in Mali and then Quebec, but being published as an adult is a first!
What was your favorite book as a child?
I am having trouble remembering much of what I read before I was a teen, but one book that comes to mind is Les Malheurs de Sophie (Sophie’s Misfortunes) and its sequels Les Petites Filles Modèles (Good Little Girls) and Les Vacances (The Holidays) by the Countess of Ségur. They’re nineteenth-century books written by a woman about girls. The main character is imperfect and always getting into trouble but at the same time really trying to be good. The books were adapted into an animated series that I watched too.
Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
I started writing creatively as a young teen because I had the time I think. There was no internet at home. I couldn’t watch television during the day. I didn’t have many extracurricular activities. There were no bookshops around so I rarely had new books to read. So I started writing. Everything from Harry Potter fanfiction to tragic poems to comedy to young adult fiction to short stories. I never got my letter to Hogwarts so I guess I took it upon myself to create that magical text that would take me to new, far away places. Later on I wrote scripts and started journaling. I remember that writing immediately felt very important, very serious to me. It immediately took a lot of space in my life and in who I was.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
I started moving around the world at the age of 11 with my family. It was intense but it was safe because I wasn’t alone. I think the adventures were every time I moved away on my own after I became an adult. Berkeley, CA at 21 for my studies. New York, NY at 26 for work. London, UK at 30 to go back to university. They all felt like taking a risk and starting fresh with my support system still there but suddenly very far away. Everything new.
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
Music is something that is always in the background of my days, while cooking, while reading, while getting ready, while walking. While writing it really depends on what I am working on. I suppose if the piece seems to flow really easily, or if I am writing without a specific structure or end goal in mind, then I’ll have music on. If I am editing or I am laying out the structure or other narrative aspects of a future piece, then I will probably do that in silence.
Geografía Of The Heart
Issue Spring '22