A few days ago my friend Chiagozie Fred Nwonwu who will rather be referred to as Mazi, told me about the “My Next Big Thing” project, sharing with me earlier posts by Yewande Omotoso and Gbenga Awomodu and informing me of his intention to bring me into the loop. Not like he gave me much of an option to decline but even if he did, I doubt I would have passed on this window of sharing with the world my plans and being a part of an idea I believe is simply fantastic. So I said yes. 🙂
I am not now sure how and where I first met Mazi, in person that is. But as is common for most people of my generation, I first met his name and his works online long before we actually met. My moving down to Lagos in late 2010 presented the opportunity for the real meeting which must have taken place in one of the countless literary events and book programmes we happen to be regulars at. The release of my collection of stories, The Funeral Did Not End in 2012 (Copies available HERE for purchase ) will bring us even closer. Mazi was the first to review the book (Read his review HERE) and has since played a great role in promoting the book alongside the team at DADA Books.
Last week Mazi answered questions about his ‘Next Big Thing’ HERE. The working title is Death is a woman, a crime fiction which he started writing in 2009 and which he hopes will be in the hands and shelves of book lovers by 2014. In the same post, he handed the baton over to me and Emmanuel Iduma. So, enough of the stories already let’s flip to my page of this beautiful book. I am so itching to share.
What is the working title of your book?
Memories of my Epiphany– well like they say, it’s a working title. Let’s see if it survives all the surgeries ahead.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I am a little obsessed with the idea of ‘death’ and have always wondered what happens to the dying person at that junction (sometimes a few seconds, sometimes many hours of unconsciousness) between being alive and becoming dead. Call me crazy but I hold that death is not a moment, but a decision and I am trying to explore that in this book. Of course, the story is weaved around life in contemporary Lagos and is told in retrospect by a narrator.
What genre does your book fall under?
Genre? Hmmm. Guess that should be Adult Fiction perhaps with some sprinkling of magical realism if you like.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
There is one main character Kingsley, a young Nigerian in his twenties…I guess a Mike Ezuronye, properly made up to look younger or a David Nnaji will do well in that role. As for the other characters, well…some of them are still being developed so I really cannot say for sure what role fits who.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Memories of My Epiphany is a compassionate story of how a country kills the dreams of its youths, leaving them naked, in the hands of preying vultures. The story hardly follows the traditional structure with an anticlimax, and then a climax…Kingsley’s life is a series of anticlimaxes, one that dips further and reveals more at each turn leading ultimately to his discovery that death is decision.
Sorry I didn’t quite stick with the ‘One-sentence’ rule. Couldn’t help it 🙂
When will your book be published?
Perhaps if I was clairvoyant or if I had TB Joshua as my paddy, I might have been able to say precisely when. But unfortunately, I am neither, so I cannot say. If it all depended on me though…as in, it was all in my power to decide, I will love to see it out in shelves by 2014.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
First draft took surprisingly 4 weeks. There is this programme called the National Novel writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in which writers are encouraged to start and finish writing a book form the 1st to 30th November. It was November 2011 and I had just taken my annual 4 week leave which coincided with the start of NaNowriMo for that year. I decided to take part and the first draft was birthed. But as you can imagine…it was some very rough draft. 😀
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I am experimenting. I love to do that a lot and I will be offering a rather unusual form of the novel, structured rather interestingly with a plot that is almost non-existent I will either get a lot of bashing for this or a lot of thumbs up. Either way, I believe that will interest readers a great deal.
We are done here.
Binyerem Ukonu is an architect, real estate manager, and writer. He’s also a co-founder of Yagazie Media Limited, the parent company of the publishing firm, Griots Lounge. His collection of shorts stories titled The Water was Hot was released in 2010 by Serene Woods India, and was widely read and accepted by readers in India and Nigeria. A member of Royal African Society UK, Binyerem Ukonu also serves as the Managing Editor of Griots Lounge. He would be giving us a peek on his Next Big Thing Here.
Kabura Zakama, also known as the Fulani Poet is a multi award winning poet and Literary enthusiast. He is the 1999 winner of the ANA Poetry Prize and author of the acclaimed poetry collection The Man Lived. He is currently working on the publication of two collections of poems (Chant of the Angry and Every Rambler Knows) and a collection of short stories (Dreamer’s Paradise). He blogs here