Sunday, May 07, 2006

akin adesokan on writing

Akin Adesokan

In a new interview, Akin Adesokan, author of Roots in the Sky, discusses writing, touching on the difference between journalism and fiction.

“In journalism, you are writing on specific events. Things that happened. Like when Tai Solarin died, and I went to cover the burial. That was an event that happened. I followed an event and wrote on it. Then when I got home in the night, I went and sat behind my desk and started writing my fiction. So there was a transition. So when you write fiction, you are following ideas. You are creating things. In journalism, you have materials in front of you. Writing is basically an attempt to wrestle with language. And there are writers who have employed the method of journalism to write fiction... In journalism, the reporter works under a deadline. For me, that has been very helpful. I can set a deadline for myself and finish up under that deadline. Even when I was doing my PH.D, I was able to write under a deadline. There was a time when we used to say that journalism would weaken our prose. But with my experience, the discipline has been very helpful.”

Read the interview here.

Roots in the Sky

Excerpt from Roots in the Sky...

Society and the economy, he declared, had destroyed the basis of community, ‘Emi ni won n wi?' wondered an old woman confused by too much grammar. That explained his tourist attitude to the village which, he now admitted, he still visited because he had always believed he could provoke some organisation. If the village had been a truly communal one, if commerce and square meals had not been the new gods of the populace, he remarked, perhaps there could have been some mutual interest, something lasting enough to make for a worthy protest. Had the landlord not been preoccupied with politics, he wouldn't have continued to let the village be. In our land, politics would continue to determine everything, forever. (But most of the people I knew in the village, from the medicine-man down to even myself, with the single exception of Kilanko, were apolitical. What would Lagos and politics mean to us, save the prayer that the bulldozers never came?) Kilanko revealed much of what happened the previous night and what little the priest or anyone could have done to avoid the embarrassment. But many people, including the old woman who had earlier wondered, hissed time and again throughout Kilanko's tirade. One, a short cantankerous woman said, ‘No use crying when, the ‘ead is already hoff '. Another, a man, derided ‘big, big grammar without solution', and it was his opinion, which he boasted was shared by many of his friends, that when people began speaking ‘big grammar' they were either frustrated or looking for ways of ‘chopping money'. One man who housed the medicine-man for the night wept as he narrated the deceased man's ordeal as he tried to sleep. The body had been taken out of the village just before the bulldozers arrived. One of the members of the church seized a moment of silence to recall in great detail the event of the previous night in the church, the priest's insistence on revival and all that happened before ‘some men of dishonour' came. He didn't care that the men were present. That man was still talking, some children crying, others playing innocently, women gossiping women brooding and yet others packing and unpacking their belongings and the clearing had been turned into another impromptu village. A woman shouted and spanked her son who had just spilled their rice among the entangled weeds of the clearing. Another blamed herself for having forgotten a bucket she purchased two days before, finally resting the blame with the husband who was hurrying her without lending a hand. The churchster was still talking when the smell of burning overwhelmed the domestic smells and announced a fresh disaster.
Read the excerpt in full here.

*Author's photograph by Sola Osofisan


Blogger Renegade Eye said...

Quite interesting post. He is the antidote to Truman Capoteism.

I just made up a word.

5:26 am, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Onyeka George Nwelue said...

Akin is a writer that no one can ever reject.

His writings are superb.

12:19 pm, May 08, 2006  
Blogger the flying monkeys said...

i have read a number of books showing a bit of Truman Capote but from the interview i am unable to perceive the manipulative

sounds a very brilliant book

10:21 pm, May 08, 2006  

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