I am on the right path’

| September 4, 2011 | 0 Comments

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“I am passionate about writing because I have stories to tell,” begins Chinyere Obi-Obasi. “The need to tell these stories is the singular most forceful reason and motivation I have to write,” she adds.

The writer from Imo State enjoys nothing as much as writing and has a passion for children‘s literature. Her writing career took off in 2005 when her first children‘s fiction, ‘The Brave Driver’ was published. ‘The Faithful Dog’ followed in 2006.

Obi-Obasi’s fervour for children‘s literature was recognised recently when ‘The Great Fall’, her latest work made it to the initial shortlist of six for the 2011 edition of the NLNG-sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature.

“I was very, very happy and grateful to God who alone could have made it possible. It means for one thing, I am on the right path,” the writer says of her nomination.

‘The Great Fall’ published this year by Hybun Publications, she explains, is unique because it is interactive. “The setting and the traditional tortoise and hare story, that makes so much sense and sounds so real, combine to make the book interesting.”

The writer discloses that the story was inspired by folktale. “I chanced upon the folktale and repackaged it in a way different from what it was originally to make it more interesting.”

Similar to folktales, there are lessons to be learnt from reading the work written for ones. She notes that “The book was meant to be entertaining but at the end, you also get some life experiences; be focused, don’t be mean, don’t be proud and respect even people you think you are better than.”

Obi-Obasi likens her experience writing the book to that of a preacher on the pulpit. “I was also telling myself that I needed to be calm, humble and so focused that nothing will distract me.”

An invaluable skill

The writer, who holds a degree in English Language/Literature from Abia State University and a Law degree from University of Uyo, believes that reading is an invaluable skill for writers. She describes herself as a voracious reader who read a lot as a child. This reading habit, she insists, is responsible for her zeal for writing.

Being an imaginative person, it was hard not to redesign the plot of the books she read as a teenager, she explains. “I saw that I was developing my own story ideas.” She lists Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, Sefi Atta, Lola Shoneyin and Ahmed Maiwada as her favourite authors and she enjoys reading works by established and upcoming writers.

Though writing children‘s literature holds a lot of appeal for Obi-Obasi, she does not relish the thought of limiting her writing to this particular genre.

“I am interested in children‘s literature, however, I write short stories and I’m also working on a novel and talent management book and a motivational book. Apart from poetry which I am not particularly strong in, I operate in all genres. I will still write more children‘s books after all, it is what has brought me fame.”

Obi-Obasi wants to make an impact on the literary community and is eagerly working towards that goal. She recently completed another children‘s book, ‘The King and His Three Wives’ and has submitted her manuscript, ‘The Change’ for the unpublished works category of this year’s Association of Nigerian Authors competition. A novel, ‘The Mark’, and a motivational book, ‘Lessons from David and Goliath’ are books she is currently writing.

The challenges of writing

Writing is not without its own share of challenges and for Obi-Obasi, balancing being a wife, mother and professional with writing is one of the challenges she has overcome.

“Through the years, I have got over the challenges of writing even as a legal practitioner, a banker, a mother of five young children, and an active member of the church. My husband has been so very supportive filling in the gaps sometimes. My children are so very well behaved and do not give me cause to complain.”

On what she finds most interesting about writing and what spurs her to write more, Obi-Obasi says, “Watching my drafts transform into books that I later come to admire so much.”

Culled from :Here

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