In Conversation With Sheriff Olanrewaju, Author of The Agony Of A Bereaved Poet.
BOOKREP: Tell us about yourself:
My name is Sheriff Olanrewaju. I’m from Ilorin-South, Kwara State, Nigeria. I graduated from College of the Humanities, Al-Hikmah University in 2011. Apart from my voluntary flair for teaching, I find joy in disseminating motivational messages and without feigning fictional connoisseur, short story writing has been a part of me since 1997 when my work was first published in my school magazine. Today, to the glory of God, my labour of love for literature has yielded some fictional masterpieces like ‘The Gamut of Gospel Gimmicks’ and ‘The Porcupine and the Pompous Professor’. In the month of March, 2012, I also authored a collection of poems titled: ‘Agonies of a Bereaved Poet’ in honour of my deceased father.
BOOKREP: Are writers a boring set of people?
Without an iota of insensitivity, the misconception is that people think when a writer confines himself to the four walls of his library, he losses social contacts. Take for instance, when a pianist makes painstaking effort to practice the instructions in the pianissimo, will people be perturbed to proclaim that the pianist is full of poignancy? But when a writer entertains no partner in a bid to write religiously and give a picturesque detail about various settings and characters in his work, why the mudslinging and irrelivant ruberic? Like a sudden premenstrual syndrome, spontaneous inspiration comes to authors especially poets unexpectedly. However, to avoid mood swings and headaches that distractions may cause, an author isolates himself. To people with such obnoxious thought about shrewd writers being boring, I recommend the movie ‘Finding Forrester’.
Creative writers are never boring because you will find a mammoth of mates in the mace of their imaginations whenever you read their works. Thus, I appeal to critics with pugilistic peculiarities to soft-pedal before landing pathetic punches on writers’ paunches. Let them be informed that creative writers are like passionflowers. Whereas, whatsoever stands on the pathway of the passionflower may, like a protagonist, play a major part in the profuse of patterns that the plant seeks to produce as it progresses. In conclusion, it is nothing short of derogation to refer to authors as a boring set of people.
BOOKREP: Tell us about your new book:
The book contains poems written within three days of seclusion to mourn my father. It tells the story of the deceased. It is a celebration of the enviable character of the devout Muslim who positively imparted in his children through love and counselling. The book, ‘Agonies of a Bereaved Poet’ is published in Montreal, Canada, by Blue Olive Productions. The book is neither canticle-like nor Qur’anically didactic. Candidly, it encapsulates the depth of enduring love for my beloved father.
BOOKREP: What do you have to say about the rising of publishing outlets, like Cassava Republic Press and Emotion Press, in the country:
I felt particularly happy to announce at the recently launched Yusuf Ali Campaign for Literacy in Nigeria that a Canada based publishing company has planned to set up a branch of the publishing house in Nigeria. This however has become a reality. The Blue Olive Productions, BOP, now has a residential office at 52, Olanrewaju Street, Agbo-Oba, Ilorin Kwara State, Nigeria. For evil to triumph, they say, it’s enough that good men do nothing. While Macmillan, Longman and even Heinneman have all been in the country for several years, Nancy Biddle, the director of the BOP considers 2012 for the establishment of Blue Olive Productions in Nigeria. The sprouting of publishing outlets in the country will in no time spur aspiring writers to put pen to paper in order to get published. I remain optimistic that as the publishing outlets increase, book sales will also increase. Even the dying reading culture will become revived.
A popular Yoruba adage goes thus: ‘omi lopo ju okalo’ which means ‘the water is more than the flour’. The challenges facing the Nigerian government has completely beffudled people from acknowledging the contributions of the government towards nation building via the promotion of literacy. However, I think they have more to do than building schools and donating books.
BOOKREP: Where can your new book be accessed?
BOOKREP: Are book clubs and literary organizations on the right path?
Book clubs and literary organizations are very vital to revive the dying reading culture in the country. This is because, if a creative connoisseur is kidnapped and kept in a cowshed, he will not only mimic how to moo but also imitate how to milk and make a living. I once met a brilliant writer who drew inspiration from BMDzukogi in Niger state simply because he participated in a reading circle where the author’s work was being criticized.
Some writers club are maverick in the sense that they always maintain balance and remain incurious in their selection of works for group discussions. Some take cursory consideration of the creative compositions which often offend faith. I’m of the view that children centred book clubs and literary organizations should be subjected to censorship without any air of preposterous affectation. Books published by uncouthed publishers should in order words, not be appreciated. This will go a long way to help curb the proliferation of immoralities and fashion-crazy nakedness civilization.
BOOKREP: Anything to say to readers out there?
Read voraciously without failing to follow the virtues in the various works that you devour. However, do not refuse to refrain from the footsteps of villains as you flip through the pages of fictional works. Share love and avoid evils. Thank you.