Monday, 31 July 2017

Nansubuga: It is a fantastic time to be an African writer

Jennifer Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and

Jennifer Makumbi is a Ugandan novelist and short story writer. She won the African Region and the overall Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014 as well as the Kwani? Manuscript Prize in 2013 for her novel Kintu.

What are you doing in the Nairobi?
I was invited by the Goethe Institut for their Literary Crossroads series to talk about my work as an African writer. I am quite excited to be back in Nairobi because this is one of my favourite cities in Africa and this is where it all started for me. It is wonderful for me to be back here, especially now that my book has been around for some time and people know me.

How did it all start here in Nairobi as you say?
I wrote a novel that at the time was called The Kintu Saga while in Britain. I tried to get it published in Britain and failed. Then there was the manuscript project that Kwani? was running. I sent my script through and, luckily, I won the prize.  Part of the prize was for the publication of the manuscript into a book. That was my first novel and it got published in Kenya, which is close to Uganda.
There is a following here in Kenya that is very close to my heart because I did not expect Kenyans to take to the book the way they did and I am so thankful for that. I may refuse to go to the US or other places but anytime I am invited back to Kenya, I am keen. I feel that it is a privilege to be here.

What is the book Kintu about?
It goes back to the 1700s when a chief in the Buganda Kingdom inadvertently kills his adoptive son and fails to go to the biological father and confess what he has unfortunately done. The biological father, who is non-Bugandan, suspecting that something has happened, goes back to his master and asks for his son back but does not get the truth. So he tells the chief that if his boy is dead, then his children and children’s children would pay. The curse is passed down the family throughout the ages, mirroring the curse that Eve carries in the Bible. The story is brought to the present, where four of Kintu’s descendants show the manifestation of the curse in their lives.

What did this book do to your career when it was published?
It was surprisingly well received in Africa; I just did not expect that. In a way it was a relief because sometimes a writer writes a book and it is received well in the West and you come to Africa and you ask if people have read this book and everyone is “What? Which one are you talking about?” I was so lucky that I got to be known in Africa first. The West got to know about me much later. The book thus travelled from Africa to America and not the other way round. There is also a lot of interest from Germany, from France, and Britain (where I initially could not find a publisher) at the moment.

You say that you have been now published in the US. How did you get a publisher there?
(Blogger) Magunga (Williams) here gave the book to an American guy called Aaron Bady and told him that this was one of the most exciting books to come out of Africa recently. Bady told me that he read it on the flight back and he loved it so much that when he arrived in the US, he couldn’t stop talking about it. He contacted Transit Books, an American publishing house, who then approached me. At that point, Ohio University Press had also approached me to publish it and they were offering the book to mainly a university audience. They were good as I was assured of universities teaching it but I wanted the book to get to the streets, to the people, rather than just to students.
So I chose Transit Books as they promised that they would also get access to the students market. I also picked them because they are a small publisher. You want a small publisher who is passionate about selling your book rather than these big publishers who are churning out many books that sometimes get lost under the pile.

Is the book out in the US already? How has the response been?
The book is out and they did a limited print of 3,000 copies and within two weeks they were back to the press. It was incredible; they don’t know how it happened. The thing with Kintu is that it has been word of mouth and African bloggers and I am incredibly indebted to those two. Most of the Americans that read it, the first thing they do is Google and they find all these blogs saying wonderful things.

You took part the Commonwealth Short Story Prize in 2014 for your story ‘Let’s Tell the Story Properly.’ You won in the African category and later the overall prize, making you the first and only African to do so.
I can’t explain the feeling. When I submitted the story, I did not even expect it to get shortlisted. It got shortlisted then when it won the African prize I said to myself, “Yes this is it, I have made it.” Then later they sent me an e-mail telling me that I had won it (the overall prize) but should not tell anybody. When they announced my win, they put me on a plane to receive it in Uganda.
It was wonderful for me because my family had no idea that I was writing. I had told them that I was doing a literature degree. When I finished my MA then I told them, “I am doing a PHD now.” My mum asked when I finished with my PHD what that meant in terms of jobs and I said, “I’ll start teaching at the university,” and she saw that that made sense.  It was only when I arrived back in Uganda and I told them that I won this prize that they turned around and said, “So this is what she has been doing?”

What can we expect next from you?
There will be a collection of short stories based in Uganda and in Manchester, where I live, published by Transit Books in the US. They should be coming out in 2019.

Do you feel like there is a new age in African writing? Do you feel like something has been happening in the last 10 or 15 years?
Oh yeah. As much as I am a writer, I was a student and a teacher of literature. When I went to study creative writing in Britain, I did literature along the way and I had to do research on who was coming up in 2001. Nothing was happening.
You would find people were presenting papers saying that nothing was happening in African literature. Ben Okri happened in 1990, but what happened after that? Nothing much apart from, perhaps, Yvonne Vera from Zimbabwe. Then (Chimamanda) Adichie happened and (Helen) Oyeyemi happened and Helon Habila happened and now everybody started happening. And we were all like where have you been all this time?
It’s so big what is happening that now I can’t afford to read other literature. I am one of those people who must read every book that I know of that has come out of Africa to see what is going on. As a writer I don’t want to duplicate what’s out there. If something has been done and it interests me, I want to be able to do it differently. So it is so exciting, people are doing exciting things. It’s a fantastic time to be an African writer right now.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Nigerian authors have to go extra mile to push their books – Emman Usman Shehu

Dr. Emman Usman Shehu is the director of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Abuja and founding president of Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) created in June 2008, to enhance the capacity of writers. In this interview the author of ‘Icarus Rising’ talks about the challenges and gains of running AWF and the Nigerian literary sphere.
Nigerian authors have to go extra mile to push their books  – Emman Usman Shehu

Tell us about yourself, what led to the creation of Abuja Writers Forum (AWF) and the journey so far?
We came about because there was need for a platform that enhances the capacity of writers devoid of politics. First of all, we have to know that we do not have to belong to some large organisation before we can achieve our objectives. So we proved that it is possible to go against the tide as long as you believe in your vision. We have also shown that capacity building is very important for Nigerian writers. For nine years we have provided that for people interested in writing. Of course we could have done a lot more but for the prevailing circumstance. But on the whole I am satisfied because we have proven a point and we are beginning to see the fruit of our intervention.

How has AWF influenced Nigeria’s literary sphere?
New names have been emerging in the Nigerian literary scene that can be traced to the Abuja Writers Forum. For instance, Elnathan John’s ‘Born on a Tuesday’ initially came out as a short story which was critiqued at our weekly critiquing sessions; many people have been published in literary journals, locally and internationally, as a result of capacity they acquired through our creative writing workshops. This Year, two new poets have emerged, Aminat Aboje and Olumide Olaniyan. Their published works were materials we critiqued at our sessions.

Is AWF only for emerging writers?
No. It is for the established, the intermediate or the budding writers. AWF provides a platform for synergy so that there is a kind of mentoring directly or indirectly. For instance we have a guest writer session every month which started in June 2008. That was our first major activity that announced our arrival on the scene. We have since brought in authors from all over the world. We also had authors who had their first ever public reading here. So basically it is not limited to Nigerian writers.
Whether you are an established writer or an unknown writer, the idea is to have a forum where you bring your work in progress, and we critique and offer suggestions, in a friendly way.

How was the support when you wanted to start?
It was only in Nigeria that when I wanted to start I began to get attacks left and right. It is very important we have this intervention; it is even much more important in Nigeria where there is no funding. In advanced economies, you have funding and grants for publishing, for residency and fellowship; even for schools that want to run writing programmes. We don’t have any of these in Nigeria, and so anyone that is able to identify a place where he can contribute to the development of Nigerian literature, should use it.
It is sad that in a country like Nigeria for example, how many writing workshops do we have? We are talking of over a hundred million people. In the United States of America, however, every week, there is a writing workshop or a writing conference either by private intervention or by national intervention.  Canada took the same approach, they subsidized the prices for these workshops and that transformed their literary sphere to a major global force. In the 60’s who was talking about the Canadian literature.
Ghanaian writers have been moribund for many years. They realized they needed to do something which led to various interventions. In 2002, because of such intervention, a Ghanaian won the Commonwealth price. So these interventions are very important, that’s why I would encourage as many people as possible to do whatever intervention they can because nobody can tell your story better than yourself.

Why do you think government is not at the forefront of these interventions?
Who are the people in government, are they people who are pro-intellectualism? Are they people who are pro-creativity? A lot of people in government are hustlers who are thinking of how much they can amass; they do not know the importance of creativity and how literature can enhance a country.
One of the reasons Nigerians became known internationally is literature. So in a country where you have leadership that understands this, certainly it would want to intervene. Look at America for instance, there can hardly be an inauguration without a poet coming to read during the ceremony.
The day the Senate President would say today is World Book Day, and we want a Nigerian writer to come and read in the Senate, we would know the day has come in terms of appreciation of the place of writers.

Any plans to expand AWF outside Abuja?
Some people feel that has always been the agenda but that has never been our plan, our plan is to focus on what we can do here in Abuja.

Readers complain of lack of books in the bookshops; that they can hardly get some books unless they personally contact the authors?
That is one of the reasons we have the Guest Writers Forum to provide a platform for interaction between published authors and the public. Because such structures do not exist; we don’t even have the basic marketing structure. The major publishing houses in Nigeria, how many copies do they produce?  Usually it is about a thousand copies, and how many branches do they have across the country? So already there is a problem. In a country of over a hundred million people, you produce 1000 copies; and you don’t even have a distributor. Even if you supply 50 copies per state, where in those states are you going to put them; where are the outlets?
Until there’s the structure, publishers and authors will have to go an extra mile to push their books. So if you are an author in Nigeria, it means you have to study the industry, you have to understand how it works.

Do you think Nigeria will eventually get the structure?
It depends on if we think literature is important; even Nollywood still has not gotten the structures right in terms of distribution so it’s a general problem and that is why piracy is thriving. As a result of lack of structures we are now left with having our works on school syllabus, and that is not how it should be.

What is the way forward?
I have told them if you want to have distribution outlets in the country, it is very simple. What stops NLNG literature prize partnering with say Mike Adenuga, that any of the shortlisted books would be distributed through Conoil fuelling station shopping marts?
People want to buy this NLNG literature prize shortlisted books because they perceive them as having quality but they don’t know where to buy them.
Do you advocate for self -publishing?
There is nothing wrong with self-publishing if you do it properly. What is publishing? Publishing is putting out your work to the public. People will only buy your book if it has got quality and if is available.
The important thing is that you follow the same process the major publishers are following. In other words, what is the quality of the work you want published.
Of the books you have authored which one is your favourite?
Every one of my books is important to me because, each book emerged at a point in time; it’s a reflection of that period of my life. My first book ‘The Questions of Big Brother’ is important because it was my first book ‘Open Sesame’ is important because it came after ‘Questions of Big Brother’. ‘Icarus Rising’ is very important because for 12 years we have been working on it.
I learnt a lesson from it , do not announce your forthcoming work, because when I announced ‘Icarus Rising’, I never knew it was going to take me 12 years.

Reprinted English edition of Emperor Shaka the Great published with the isiZulu edition on the 10th anniversary of Mazisi Kunene’s death

Mazisi Kunene is the much-celebrated author of epics, such as Emperor Shaka the Great (UNodumehlezi KaMenzi) and Anthem of the Decades (Inhlokomo Yeminyaka), as well as numerous poems, short stories, nursery rhymes and proverbs that amount to a collection of more than 10 000 works.

He was born in aMahlongwa in 1930, a small rural village on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Notwithstanding his cultural duties as a young man born into Zulu tradition, his calling as an imbongi was taken very seriously by his father and grandfather who encouraged him to write. Professor Kunene described this ‘calling’ to write as ‘something [that] is not me, it is the power that rides me like a horse’.

Kunene lectured widely and was Professor in African Literature at Stanford University and in African Literature and Languages at the University of California, Los Angeles. On his return to South Africa, he was Professor in African Languages at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He went into exile in the 1960s for more than 34 years, during which time he established and managed the African National Congress office in London and later moved to Los Angeles with his family to pursue his academic career. In UNodumehlezi KaMenzi (Emperor Shaka the Great), which he wrote during this exile period, he positions Shaka as a legendary thinker, who had great skill as a strategic and military genius.

This vision acknowledges and re-imagines Shaka as a unifying cultural and political force that defined the cohesive Zulu nation. Kunene projects Shaka into the mythical ancestral universe that affirms the deep cultural lineage of the African world view.

This reprinted English edition is published with the isiZulu edition on the tenth anniversary of his death, embracing Kunene’s original dream to have his work published as intended in the original isiZulu form.
The symbolic and cultural significance of these publications begins a process of re-evaluating and recontextualising Kunene’s writing oeuvre.

Book details
Emperor Shaka the Great: A Zulu Epic by Mazisi Kunene
EAN: 9781869143152

Friday, 21 July 2017

Windybrow to house a treasure trove of African literature

The Market Theatre Foundation and Exclusive Books have teamed up to create a new reading hub for the Hillbrow community.
They have revamped the 121-year-old Windybrow Arts Centre, which used to be a performance theatre, into a reading area where the community, particularly children, can choose from more than 2 000 Pan-African book titles.
“We are pleased that we can create a safe space for children and adults alike to have access to books, to care for them and to treasure the stories that the books contain,” said Benjamin Trisk, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Exclusive Books.
“We envisioned a dynamic partnership with Exclusive Books to make stories and literature from the African continent and the diaspora become more accessible to a wider audience,” said Ismail Mahomed, CEO of The Market Theatre Foundation.
The Windybrow Arts Centre will open its doors to the Exclusive Books Pan-African Reading Lounge for adults and The Exclusive Books Pan-African Reading Room for children on July 18 to mark Nelson Mandela International Day.
- On July 18 Khanyi Mbau, the queen of bling, will join the team from SABC lifestyle show Top Billing and spend their 67 minutes honouring the late statesman by visiting a home in Midrand caring for children suffering from cancer. A day of fun and motivation has been planned.
- Albany Bakeries and its brand ambassador, DJ Zinhle, will make 1 000 sandwiches for the African Children’s Feeding Scheme. Volunteers from Johannesburg only are welcome but will have to apply and be available to participate on July 25.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Bringing African folktales to Life

Maimouna is trying to get audiences interested in folktales again
Folktales and the art of traditional storytelling are in danger of being lost and Nairobi-based performer Maïmouna Jallow is on a mission to reverse the trend.

But on her journey to revive the art she has also discovered the relevance of performing contemporary stories.

There is something mystical about Zanzibar’s Stone Town. It is a place where past and present collide, and where a mosaic of sights and smells from across the Indian Ocean weave themselves together down narrow alleyways.

It is perhaps fitting then, that my exploration of traditional East African folktales began here, leading me on an unexpected journey into storytelling and adapting contemporary novels.

In 2015, feeling nostalgic for the tales of Anansi the Spider that I had grown up with in West Africa, I travelled to the historic centre of Zanzibar in search of folktales.

Stone Town’s narrow streets and old buildings proved the perfect setting to rediscover old folktales
On arrival, I went straight to the Old Fort, an imposing 17th Century structure built by the Omanis to defend the island from the Portuguese. There, with the help of the painter Hamza Aussie, I met a group of women who owned curio shops that lined the grassy courtyard.

I asked them if they would share the folktales of their youth with me, and within a couple of hours, I had recorded a dozen stories, or rather, fragments of stories.
Around us, children pressed inwards, eager to hear their tales. But even in those magical hours, I started to feel like I was grasping at clouds. The women had to dig deep into the recess of their minds as they tried to piece together scattered bits of ancient tales.

Like an old discarded puzzle, some pieces seemed to be lost forever.

Maimouna heard traditional stories from women in Zanzibar
The children around us, whilst enchanted by their tales, would save their coins to play computer games in the gaming rooms that had sprouted alongside shops that sold henna and incense.

It seemed that even in this small town, famed for its quaint antiquity, folktales were dying. I needed to understand why.

Yes, television was to blame, and so was the breakdown of the extended family, but how had we so easily lost such a fundamental kernel of our existence?

Later that week, I had the good fortune of meeting Haji Gora Haji, the Island’s poet laureate, a living fountain of wondrous tales.

As I listened to him recount a story about the infamous Hare duping Tortoise into buying a piece of land that turned out to be a beach, which Tortoise only found out about when the tide came in, I wondered whether part of the problem is that so many of these stories are far removed from our realities today.
Would our urbanised kids understand Haji’s story?

Heck, even I needed Hamza to give me the annotated version. As he explained it, there was a time when many people on the island were being conned into buying land without title deeds, so this was a warning to people to be wary of unscrupulous salesmen.

Indeed, folktales have always been a vital way to transmit important information, as well as moral lessons, and as such, they are often rooted in specific places and contexts.

And as much as the purist in me wanted to believe that folktales are not only timeless but also universal, I started to think that perhaps one way to preserve folktales was to re-imagine them so that they would resonate with children and adults today.

Back in Nairobi, I launched an online contest, inviting African writers to re-write traditional folktales but with a contemporary twist.

We got a mixed bag of entries, some which addressed war and exile, others that questioned our modern mores. I too began writing stories that merged the old with the new, for example, drawing parallels between slavery and the indiscriminate killing of young black men in America.

I began performing these stories, at times using video footage of real events to ground them in reality, but preserving the structure and style of traditional folktales. The result was as hybrid as me, and whilst I worried about veering off track, I knew that are so many of us who inhabit multiple worlds.

The success of this experiment spurred me to push the boundaries even further and to use oral storytelling to bring African literature to new audiences by adapting novels for performance. I have author Lola Shoneyin thank for this.

The first time I read her acclaimed novel, The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives, the women in the story possessed me. They were hilarious. And they jostled for space in my mind, speaking loudly, and demanding to be seen.

My initial reaction was to think, “someone needs to turn this into a movie”. But soon, I realised that I wanted to tell this story.

One-woman show
It was about patriarchy, sexual abuse, polygamy, poverty, education, love, friendship and so many issues that I wanted to talk about, and I felt that performance storytelling could be a gateway to have open discussions on the serious questions raised by the novel.

So I set about adapting the book into a 50-minute one-woman show.
Then, I dug into my bookshelves and pulled out other novels that I thought would translate beautifully into performed stories. I worked with five other women, an eclectic mix of poets, actors and writers, and together we started to bring African novels to life.

These were not plays. Each novel was adapted and retold by just one teller. We used traditional elements of African oral storytelling like call and response and each time, the teller would build a relationship with the audience and create a different form of magic.

The response was tremendous. Audiences told us that we had brought books to life. Some said they did not read and were grateful to still be able to enjoy the terrific literature coming out of Africa.
Many subsequently bought the novels so that they could enjoy the full details that had to be left out in the adaptations.

As an African literature major, it dawned on me that my journey had come full circle: folktales had led me back to contemporary novels and opened the door to storytelling. So perhaps I have not veered off track after all.

The late Professor Kofi Awoonor used to say: “We weave new ropes where the old ones left off.” And like Stone Town itself, I have simply found a way to fuse past and present.

Many kegs of ‘Palm Wine’

By: Chandan Gowda

The power of the Nigerian writer, Amos Tutuola’s (in pic) The Palm-Drinkard, the first African novel to find international literary readership, after its publication in 1952, can be immediately felt. Written in English, and rooted in the Yoruba folk story tradition, the slim novel became a sensation soon after it appeared in England and is now acknowledged as a foundational novel in modern African literature.

Sample the initial paragraphs from The Palm-Drinkard:

“I was a palm-wine drinkard since I was a boy of ten years of age.

“My father got eight children and I was the eldest among them, all of the rest were hard workers, but I myself was an expert palm wine drunkard… I was drinking palm-wine from morning till night and from night till morning. By hat tie I could not drink ordinary water at all except palm-wine.

“But when my father noticed that I could not do any work more than to drink, he engaged an expert palm-wine tapster for me; he had no other work more than to tap palm-wine every day.

“So my father gave me a palm-tree farm which was nine miles square and it contained 560,000 palm trees, and this palm-wine tapster was tapping one hundred an d fifty kegs of palm-wine ever morning, but before 2 o’clock pm., I would have drunk all of it; after that he would go and tap another 75 kegs in the evening which I would be drinking till morning.”

The happy state of affairs wasn’t to continue for long. The palm-wine tapster fell down from the palm tree and died. Not finding any one who could tap palm-wine “to my requirement,” and remembering that “old people were saying that the whole people who had died in this world, did not go to heaven directly, but they were living in one place somewhere in this world,” the novel’s hero sets out to find out “where my palm-wine tapster who had died was.”

What follows is an intoxicatingly rich adventure, where humans, strange creatures, and spirits come and go with perfect ease. The rapid, yet unhurried, turns of event, all told in a hypnotic oral story-telling style which freely and masterfully bends English to serve its purposes, is nourishment itself.

Tutuola’s short autobiographical note, which appears as an Afterword to The Palm-Drinkard, tells us he had a tough childhood. His father sent him to work as a servant in an acquaintance’s house in Lagos, a town sixty kilometres from their native village of Abeokuta, in return for a school education. The young Tutuola did exceptionally well at school, but his master’s wife’s cruelty, which constantly loaded him with household chores, proved hard to endure. He went back to his father’s village and joined school there. After a year, his father’s sudden death didn’t let him continue his studies: “Now there was none of my family who volunteered to assist me to further my studies.” His formal education ended at the sixth grade, Tutuola worked odd jobs on the farm and elsewhere from then onward. Not having completed his formal education, Tutuola has noted, meant being able to work with a freer narrative imagination.

TS Eliot, the poet, acquired the manuscript for publication with Faber and Faber. The influential part played by Irish poet, Dylan Thomas’ high praise for the novel, is also well known. His review in the Observer entitled, “Blithe Spirits,” begins thus: “This is the brief, thronged, grisly and bewitching story, or a series of stories, written in young English by a West African about the journey of an expert and devoted palm wine drinker,…” An excerpt from Thomas’ review, in fact, forms the epigraph in the Nigerian writer, Wole Soyinka’s affectionate introduction to the latest edition of The Palm Drinkard. Soyinka speculates that being Irish, who had “not completely severed their umblical cords from the earth of magic, fantasy, trolls, gnomes and goblins,” might explain the poet’s enthusiasm for the novel.

The debates on the novel’s reception have been charged. Was the West seeking exotica in it? Would aspiring modern African writers be expected to dish out similarly strange narrative forms? The questions would have been especially urgent in the time of decolonization, when .writers in English from formerly colonized countries wrestled with the kind of English to write for giving authentic expression to their cultural experiences.

Sixty five years later, with the advantage of abundant caution about avoiding stereotypy, the many pleasures of The Palm-Drinkard can be enjoyed more freely. The inventiveness of new words and styles of phrase are liberating: as Soyinka points out, the word “drinkard” does away with the negative morality that sticks to the word “drunkard.”

Drawing attention to the continued appeal of The Palm-Drinkard, Soyinka says “Who can conceive of the sea drying up? As long as there is a drop of wine left to tap from the West African palm tree, Amos Tutuola lives on.”

(The author teaches at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru)

Friday, 7 July 2017

Meet the 20 years old writer from Rivers State, Miss Walker Miriam Ihuoma.

As insiders in Nigerian literature and beyond, we have been able to see what Miss Walker Mirianm Ihuoma has to offer. She hails from Ikwerre in Rivers State, and currently a student in the University. She's a Christian, and she enjoys reading, writing and listening to Christian songs.

We were privileged to interview her to know more about her new book (OVERTHROWN) that will come out very soon. Overthrown is definitely one of the most culturally diverse and interesting book we might be seeing soon. It centres around kingdoms torn by their quest for supremacy, and there were a lot of twists of events in it.

Below is our interview with Miss Walker Miriam Ihuoma:

LITEMAG: We were able to see some parts of your upcoming book, Overthrown, and I must say it’s interesting. Please tell us what inspired you to write Overthrown.

MISS WALKER: What inspired me was the desire to preserve culture and history.  Unlike in the western world and other places where they have many books about their history dating back to BC, such are not really common here and especially in my place. I don't want a future where the people don't know what their history was like. I personally feel bad when I don't know much about my culture and often wish there were more books on it; perhaps an Ikwerre language dictionary! Because I believe history and culture are important, I was inspired to write something on it, so that even in years to come, people will be able to have an idea of the past.

LITEMAG: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

MISS WALKER: The most difficult thing is trying to imagine how the opposite sex thinks and would behave in a particular situation. I'm not a guy and guys probably think and see things differently from the way girls think and see things. So I try as much as possible to imagine that I am a guy in that particular part so that I can write better. 

LITEMAG: How do you select the names of your characters?

MISS WALKER: First of all,  it depends on the tribe of the character. If this character is Yoruba for example, I will give that character a Yoruba name. Secondly, it depends on the role the character is playing. If the character is a strong warrior, I will give him a name like Dike. Thirdly, I prefer using names that are not too common and I just seem to like. Such names could be names that was used mostly in the past. And in situations where I can't get a name that satisfies all these categories I just mentioned, I simply make them up myself.  

LITEMAG: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

MISS WALKER: I try to be original. It's left to the reader to appreciate or not to. I don't just write for my readers, I  write for recollection. So that, years later when I read that work, I can see how far I have come in writing and how much I have changed and improved. 

LITEMAG: When are we expecting Overthrown?

MISS WALKER: By God's grace, before this year ends.  

LITEMAG: What plans do you have after publishing Overthrown?
MISS WALKER: I want it to go global just like Chimamanda Adichie's books! I have always had such dreams ever since I went to a book store and saw great books published by Nigerian writers. Then I was like, "So Nigerians can write like this? " I don't just want it to sell in Nigeria,  I also want it to go outside the borders of Nigeria so that people out there would have a better knowledge of our culture and Africa, as a whole. 

LITEMAG: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

MISS WALKER: I would tell my younger writing self to never give up and keep on dreaming big. Before I used to think that publishing a book was something 'others' did; it seemed like an almost unattainable dream. I would tell my younger self that publishing a book is indeed possible if I  work hard towards it. I would also tell my younger self to research a lot and learn a lot about my culture and environment so that my written work would be reliable and educative.  And of course, I would tell my younger self to keep on practicing so that I would be a better writer. 

This was how the interview went, and we will keep you posted on her book, Overthrown, coming soon!