ON THE SPOT III (ISSUE 8)

ON THE SPOT III (ISSUE 8)

Seun Lari-WilliamsHere, author of “Garri for Breakfast”, Seun Larri-Williams talks to PIN about entering and being shortlisted for the 2017 edition of The NLNG Prize for Literature.

  •  How did you come to know of the NLNG Prize?

My girlfriend, Feyi randomly stumbled upon the competition somewhere on the internet and shared it with me.

  •  You were longlisted for the NLNG Prize for Literature 2017. How do you feel making the longlist and not making the shortlist?

I am very happy I made the longlist. I’ve always feared that my kind of writing might not be liked by professionals so I was very thankful when I saw my name on the list. Also, given the profile of the judges, I have great respect for them. If they thought my book was good enough to make the list, then it means a whole lot to me.

 Not making the shortlist hurt. Smelling a hundred thousand dollars would have been nice. However, I am humbled by the fact that this is my first book ever and merely being on the list has opened a few doors I’ll always be thankful for.

  • Which of your books was shortlisted? 

garri for breakfastSo far, I have only one book – Garri for Breakfast.

  • Aside your current work, can you mention any of your literary works?

I have no other book published, just poems scattered around some of which I share on social media and on occasions.

  •  Is poetry writing your first calling? If not, what’s it and how do you manage to have time to weave words good enough for publication?

I love writing poetry. As to whether it’s my first calling or not, it’s difficult to say. But poetry isn’t what I do for a living. Mostly, I write at night even though during the day, poetry ideas come in and out of my head.

  • What’s your take on Winner takes all as practiced by NLNG?

First, we have to be thankful that they do this for our art. It’s unprecedented and I believe it’s a beautiful thing. Second, while admitting that it’s totally within their right to decide how the competition should be, I believe the traditional method of rewarding the top 3 is better. For dis hard time wey money no dey, sharing the prize among at least the top 3 wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • What do you know about Poets in Nigeria and what suggestions would you offer on taking the brand to the peak in poetry promotion in Nigeria?

I know the founder of Poets in Nigeria to be one of the most passionate persons I have ever met and I am confident that given his personality and energy, poetry will have a bigger and better place in our country. And I believe that so long as this organisation continues to promote poets and poetry in Nigeria as passionately as it already does, the peak would be its starting point.

  • Would you mind sharing with us the poem ”Garri for Breakfast” – your book title?

GARRI FOR BREAKFAST

I’m going to have garri for breakfast

It’s not like anybody will know

No milk in it, not even sugar

Just garri, as clean as snow

My stomach is not made of glass

So there’s no way it will show

And I’ll wear my suit and tie

So how would anybody know?

  •  What inspired Garri for Breakfast?

The book or the poem? If the poem – it was a personal experience. I had garri for breakfast literally. But also, I believed the words of this poem gave expression to the situation many Nigerians find themselves in at time.

  • A word for poets irrespective of age.

Art is freedom. Poetry is art. Therefore poetry is freedom. Be free.

 

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