Monday, February 09, 2009

My Interview in Vanguard...

This was published in Vanguard on Sunday, an interview conducted by the Arts editor, Mr. Mcphilips; thought to share it with you guys my biggest fans! :-)

Eko dialogue is a very peculiar title. Can you lead us into this dialogue?

Eko Dialogue is all about the bickering, discourse, and romance that prevail amongst the inhabitants of a city. Eko Dialogue observes the many hilarious, tragic, and startling episodes of Lagos. It is a dialogue that we have all engaged in at one time or the other, making it a collection that apes our condition.

The collection for me, is experimental at many levels: I noticed that in some stories, there are nuggets of many stories built in one and in some plots, the reader is driven to anti-climax. Perhaps I’m wrong or what do you think?

Our lives are experimental. Everyday is an original script, never been read. It is fresh, it is new, it is different from the day before. The same scenario might play out, but it is still a trial, leading us to something earth-shaking…well, the earth may not shake, but we might just congratulate ourselves for living it through once again. That is the Lagos we live in, that is the story I capture – one that is faltering.

The city of Lagos is one huge fascinating story on its own. And I am happy that in your first story in the collection titled, My Lagos , you painted this geography of Lagos in its anarchic sense. But am still worried if the short story form can provide the platform to flesh out all the contradictions of Lagos. What is your take ?

The dais can come in any form. Sefi Attah captures Lagos very well in her book – Swallow. It all depends on the ability of the writer. Our lives are sporadic and patchy. I try to capture that using short, ambiguous tales that may jolt.

The dialogue is not only about the anarchic Lagos, I’m thinking about such stories like the Sower and the Ravenous Wolves and Frustration-in-law. Are these stories still part of Lagos Dialogue?

But of course! Are we not aware of religion and the fanfare of luxury and perversion it has become? Do we not see how our men are arm-twisted by in-laws? The ravenous wolf converses with his preys just as the in-law babbles away his many greedy needs – it is still a form of dialogue; and it is our dialogue; and these various interchange make us who we are.

May be the title Eko Dialogue is a relative title?

It is a practical title, one that says it as it is.

So tell us about yourself: who is Joy Bewaji?

I am revolutionary, an extremist – one that loves and hates with great passion. I am a writer, a believer, a happy mother, an ardent dreamer. I am the alternative when you gasp for change.

What is your pedigree in literary writing?

I was never patient enough to garner mentors. I’d pick up a book, read the first chapter and question why it had to begin that way instead of another way. But we have our giants, and I am inspired by them – Toni Morrison, Vladimir Nabokov, Mark Twain, George Eliot, Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie etc

Something must have influenced you into exploring the short story form, what is that thing?

It is just easy for me, and I want to believe it is a style Lagosians would like. It’s like music, it’s like dessert, it’s like google, you don’t want the point being stretched beyond its limits because you want to sound like a genius. Just say it!

Can you share the challenges of experimenting with this form with us?

The challenges would be that it required some kind of sinew to hold it all together. It gets disorderly until the Epilogue, where the character – Iya Koko weaves most of the stories in her idle chatter with her friend all in a bid to get some liquor.

What is your general take on creative writing in Nigeria?

It has evolved, and the sceptre sits with the emerging talents.

Tell us about one single contemporary Nigerian writer that his or work appeals you?

It has to be Chimamanda Adichie. I have read her books and some of her short stories. She’s a great writer.

Which of the person's work continues to engage your mind and why?

Half of a Yellow Sun is a classic, and has gone ahead to make her a literary genius.


Afrobabe said...

Nice work....

still awaiting our copy eagerly...

bArOquE said...

The dialogue is not only about the anarchic Lagos, I’m thinking about such stories like the Sower and the Ravenous Wolves and Frustration-in-law. Are these stories still part of Lagos Dialogue?
May be the title Eko Dialogue is a relative title?

very good questionz

Olamild said...


Anonymous said... one sitting i shall digest it, with coffee and biscuit.


nice one, Isi

Woomie O! said...

you have done well my darling.

Vera Ezimora said...

Babe, I'm so proud of you. Keep it going.



Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff Isi.

Lighty 'neferet' Kopearl said...

well done isi. it takes alot to complete any book at all. cant wait to get a hold of it.