Book reviewer, Franklyne Ikediasor recently got together with Easy Motion Tourist writer, Leye Adenle, and they got to talking about his novel and all things literary. Check on it.
Franklyne Ikediasor: First of all congratulations on winning the French award
Leye Adenle: Thanks 🙂
FI: Would you say that prizes are important in Literature today?
LA: I can think of many ways that prizes help literature. For one, they give invaluable publicity for the genre the prize is for, the longlisted and the shortlisted authors, and the eventual winner. I do not think they serve as an incentive to write, but they do reward authors both financially and emotionally.
FI: What books influenced you as a young man?
LA: Everything Chinua Achebe wrote, Amos Tutuola’s The Palmwine Drinkard, Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, James Hadley Chase’s novels, and the Pacesetters series.
FI: What skills would you say are essential to writers today?
LA: Persistence, if that can be considered a skill. As with many other things, what matters the most in the end is the staying power.
FI: Easy Motion Tourist in some way went into uncharted territory, as there aren’t many novels written by Nigerians that explored the themes it explored. Were you at any point concerned about the response?
FI: A lot of research must have gone into writing EMT; how long did it take to write? And how did you gather information?
LA: Not really. A lot of imagination went into writing it. The first draft took a grand total of three months, and then the real work of getting it into a readable form began. That took years.
FI: How has the response been to EMT?
LA: So far so good! The French translation just won the very first of a new prize in Pau, France – the Prix Marianne.
FI: About the Nigerian literary scene, do you think we need more writers or better stories?
LA: Neither. I think we need more publishers and more bookshops and more book festivals. There are a great many incredibly good writers out there waiting to get published.
FI: What specifically do you think is missing in the Nigerian literary space?
LA: Government support. I’m not asking for the government to give out free money to publishers and authors, but where are the laws that protect printers, publishers, bookshops, authors for that matter?
FI: On a lighter note, if your life was a movie, what would be the soundtrack?
LA: That’s an easy one. Easy Motion Tourist!
Easy Motion Tourist was published by Cassava Press and can be purchased from Konga, Jumia, Rovingheights.com and bookstores across the country.