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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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We now have the technology to produce works that live up to international standards

. . . . You must do the necessary things like ‘quality control’, mock prints,

 investing in professional literary editors and copy editors

Jude Dibia                                                                                                                                                                              Onyeka Nwelue



Onyeka Nwelue Interviews Jude Dibia

Author of Walking with Shadows  


At his Ajah Estate home in suburban Lagos, the job-schedule not withstanding, writer Jude Dibia is working double-time to complete his second novel, Unbridled, to be released this year. His first novel, Walking with Shadows may in full-swing hit the theatres in the few months. The Nigerian and overseas audiences can't wait for Jude to unravel his magic, and quite obviously it is going to be boom time for Nigerian literary scene. Jude's second book is easily going to be the most awaited novel this season. What's more, the writer has moved away from what he is accused of all the while—gay writing—and picked up the issue of migration and abuse.

Set in the political climate of Nigeria and snow-flowered England, Jude's novel is Nigeria's take on sexism and family-constructed child abuse. It has all the necessary requisites integral to a good novel about the sexes—love, passion, greed, jealousy and crime. In this chat with me, the once-controversial author hits out some nails.


ON: I guess you have been a fan of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Today people await a second Jude Dibia novel with the same eagerness. How does it feel?

JD: Chimamanda is a gifted writer. Her second novel was so mature and thematic; I enjoyed it very much and did catch up with her during one of her readings in Lagos recently. I think more than everybody, I am looking forward to the next Jude Dibia novel. It feels great to finally finish writing it.

ON: So what makes a Jude Dibia novel?

JD: I don’t know. There is no recipe or formula for my books. I am very interested in simple things and how we are the product of our past and experiences. I believe this is a recurrent theme in most of my writing—we are who we are today because of yesterday!

ON: You are afraid of being stereotyped as a gay writer, which is why themes like migration and abuse come into your second book?

JD: I wasn’t aware of being stereotyped as anything. The themes I explored in my new book ‘Unbridled’ was equally as interesting to me as when I was writing Walking With Shadows.

ON: Nigerian writing, published in Nigeria has been criticised for its poor binding, printing and lazy plots.

JD: In the past, this may have been so, but not now. We now have the technology to produce works that live up to international standards. As a publisher, you must demand for the best without compromise. You must do the necessary things like ‘quality control’, mock prints, investing in professional literary editors and copy editors etc. before releasing a book. Farafina is doing a great job and their works are produced 100% in Nigeria.

We have extraordinary writers among us still. Some need nurturing and encouragement. I read somewhere once that every single story possible has been told. The challenge for today’s writer is retelling these stories in an innovative and new way. You want to relate to a whole new audience as a writer.

ON: You published Walking with Shadows, which had a different subject. It was a great success, I guess. Now your second, doesn't it unnerve you that you are on unfamiliar terrain once more, by narrating through the voice of an abused woman?

JD: I am always on unfamiliar terrain every time I write. That’s always the best part for me. I love the challenge of pushing the limits with my stories. It is very important that when people read my stories they can easily believe that it happened and it is real. That was the case with Walking With Shadows and I hope it would be the same for Unbridled, regardless of the fact that it was written by a man.

ON: What's the pow-wow with never-to-be-told themes that you explore? Some believe you create controversy to hit headlines!

JD: I’ve learnt not to give too much time to such banal statements regarding my writing. I really do believe that the themes explored in Unbridled have been used before. I still wanted to tell the story a different way. What’s important to me is that I am read—it’s the best compliment you can pay a writer.

ON: 'Rumour' has it that your first novel, Walking with Shadows will soon be adapted into a film? 

JD: I have been approached by a UK based director/producer for the film rights of my book. There is a chance that it would be shot in South Africa in the not so distance future.

ON: What assistance and advice would you offer to young authors in Nigeria who are striving to make it to the publishing industry?

JD: This may sound cliché, but my advice is don’t give up. You have to keep writing to perfect your art. Read tons of books and don’t be afraid of criticism no matter how harsh it may be at times. Publishing houses like Farafina and Cassava Republic are constantly seeking to find new exciting writers—why not take advantage of this?

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Onyeka Nwelue is a budding Nigerian writer, who has attended book festivals within and without his home-country, including the International Writers' Festival, which took place in India. His novel, The Abyssinian Boy is forthcoming.

Other sites of interest: Nwelue Judging Jude / Walking With Shadows

posted 10 February 2007

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#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

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#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

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Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid That Sparked the Civil War

By Tony Horwitz

Plotted in secret, launched in the dark, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry was a pivotal moment in U.S. history. But few Americans know the true story of the men and women who launched a desperate strike at the slaveholding South. Now, Midnight Rising portrays Brown's uprising in vivid color, revealing a country on the brink of explosive conflict. Brown, the descendant of New England Puritans, saw slavery as a sin against America's founding principles. Unlike most abolitionists, he was willing to take up arms, and in 1859 he prepared for battle at a hideout in Maryland, joined by his teenage daughter, three of his sons, and a guerrilla band that included former slaves and a dashing spy. On October 17, the raiders seized Harpers Ferry, stunning the nation and prompting a counterattack led by Robert E. Lee. After Brown's capture, his defiant eloquence galvanized the North and appalled the South, which considered Brown a terrorist. The raid also helped elect Abraham Lincoln, who later began to fulfill Brown's dream with the Emancipation Proclamation, a measure he called "a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale." Tony Horwitz's riveting book travels antebellum America to deliver both a taut historical drama and a telling portrait of a nation divided—a time that still resonates in ours.

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Home  Transitional Writings on Africa

Related file: The Train Journey (short story)    Interview with Onyeka Nwelue    Onyeka Nwelue Interviews Jude Dibia     A Tree Was Once an Embryo        Men in Suit? Give ’Em A Chance     The Land of Saints