- Previously Published On Lebureaudelacritique.wordpress.com : Palabre Intellectuelle
- vendredi 18 mai 2018 09:44:11
AFRIQUE :: “˜I was meant to fly, to touch the sky, to write': An interview with Othuke Ominiabohs :: AFRICA
Thank God, We're are lucky. Behold several exlusive sweet words by Nigerian born Othuke Ominiabohs. One of the young gifted authors of the new generation Africa can be proud of. With special thanks to our partners from Palabre Intellectuelle. Enjoy!
What brought a graduate of Computer Science to Poetry and Literature?
Passion and flair. I have always loved the written word. I believe I can weave words into marriages that have the possibility of transcending time. In telling the untold stories of my country, I can become a custodian of its history, and through literature, attempt to make the world a better place. Computer Science opened a whole new world to me, but it was one in which I felt bound to already existing boundaries ; a realization that came in the course of my time in the university. I was meant to fly, to touch the sky, to write.
In the 2016 edition of the Grand Prix of Literary Associations, you were not amongst the most expected names for the finals, unlike famous international authors such as Alain Mabanckou and many others from the then 101 pre-selected ; but you did it, thanks to your novel ‘ODUFA, A lover’s tale’. How did you react when you realised that you were one of the very few Shortlisted of the GPLA 2016, and as such a potential winner of the famous internationational prize?
I was excited. I knew I had a good book. But it still came as a pleasant surprise when I made the shortlist.
If you had to present ‘ODUFA’ in a brief comment, would it be mine - Another romance with a sad ending -, or the one from Professor Hubert Mono Ndjana, the GPLA 2016 Chairman: A deep metaphysics of life?
Odufa is much more than just another romance story with a sad ending. ‘A deep metaphysics of life’ more or less sums it up for me. On one hand the book shows with lyrical prose, the human fallibility, the illogical nature of romantic love and the far reaching effects of our decisions and their consequences. On the other hand, it xrays the stereotypes in our cultures, class and tribe ; the dangers of extremes, and some of the many other ills that plague today's society.
The characters are young and of course up-to-date with modernism ; at the same time the novel can remind the African Wisdom that tipifies the works of our elders. Just like in a Chinua Achebe’s story, there are many African proverbs in your novel, such as ‘It is the fear of what tomorrow may bring that makes the tortoise to carry his house with him wherever he goes.’ Did you learn such traditional thoughts in books?
Reading novels was an integral part of growing up. A lot of things stood out for me in this time, including the skilful inclusion of African proverbs in African literature, as exemplified in the works of Chinua Achebe. But my repertoire of proverbs grew under the wings of my Mother who told her children folktales under the canopy of bright moonlights and starry skies.
‘ODUFA’ was followed by another work entitled ‘A Conspiracy of Ravens’, which seems to be a kind of African thriller, with all the required ingredients that makes a good book of its kind : suspense, politics, plots, double cross, rebellion, petroleum, big money, and of course love, once again, love against all odds. Would you like to say something about that second novel of yours, and while we’re at it, how do you experience love in real life?
A Conspiracy of Ravens is one book that is quite dear to my heart. Although it is a second book, it was the first book I attempted and it took me over seven years to finish. The persistence and tenacity involved in that project was to mould me into the writer that I have become.
I am a lover through and through. I experience love by giving. Much like my characters, I believe in the redeeming power of true love, elusive though it may seem in these times.
What are the coming projects of ‘His’ GPLA 2016 Shortlisted Mister Othuke Ominiabohs?
I have a new book coming out soon. It’s a sequel to ODUFA, and it is titled ‘AVIARA'. I also have a short story collection in the works. You can follow me on social media at my handles @ohmstonweth on Twitter and @ohmston on Instagram to get updates on my forthcoming projects.