Meet an Author: Odafe Atogun
Odafe Atogun was born in Nigeria, in the town of Lokoja. He studied Journalism at the Times Journalism Institute, Lagos and is now a full-time writer. He is married and lives in Abuja.
1. When did you start writing and why?
Living away from my parents as a child, I found myself often writing letters to my father. In later years, when I started living with him, there was a communication gap, which meant that I could not sit with him to discuss intimate issues, so I would put them in a letter to him. This was how writing began for me.
2. At what point do you know that a story/book is complete?
When I find myself reflecting deeply on the beginning, trying to put into perspective how it all started.
3. What’s the hardest/easiest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is starting. The easiest… There is nothing easy about writing. I would prefer to say that writing is always a joyous experience regardless of how demanding it may be.
Writing is always a joyous experience regardless of how demanding it may be. -@OAtogun Click To Tweet
4. What books would you say shaped your writing?
In the earliest days, books like Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, My Father’s Daughter by Mabel Segun, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Ake: the years of childhood by Wole Soyinka. Later in life, I was influenced by books like The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Disgrace by JM Coetzee, among others.
5. Are you working on anything at the moment?
Yes, I’m working on a story which I think is revolutionary. I’m taking my time. I’m putting everything into it. I will never enjoy writing any story more than this one.
6. How do you feel about bad reviews?
I don’t think there is such a thing as bad review. For me, every review helps me to take my art to the next level. It is important to keep improving as an artist. A collage of reviews certainly helps in achieving that. Ultimately, it is important for me to write a book that I can think of with a smile.
7. If you could be a character in a novel you’ve read, who would you be and why?
I would be the protagonist in Ben Okri’s Astonishing the Gods. It would be wonderful to attain the power of invisibility and anonymity.
There are no bad reviews. Every review helps me to take my art to the next level. -@OAtogun Click To Tweet
8. If your life was a book, what would the title be?
9. Tell us something about yourself that your readers probably don’t know.
I’m a dreamer. I spend more time dreaming than writing. This is why I’m a latecomer.