Semilore Kilaso interviewed her second guest for PIN Talks, Funke Awodiya, two weeks ago. As a pioneer member of Poets in Nigeria, Funke Awodiya talks about the philosophy of PIN and impacts made over time.
Funke Awodiya is a creative writer who promotes poetry, a founding member of Poets in Nigeria (PIN), member of Association of Nigerian Authors Lagos Chapter, Fellow Ebedi International Writer’s Residency, Initiator Safe Dreams Initiative, a social campaigner and sickle cell advocate. Author of two poetry books The Farmer’s Daughter and Woman of a Woman, she currently resides in Lagos Nigeria.
- It’s a great pleasure having to talk with you Ms. Funke Awodiya – author The Farmer’s Daughter and Woman of a Woman on PIN Talks. Can you tell us more about yourself?
Funke Awodiya, born in Lagos-Nigeria where she currently resides, is a creative writer, social campaigner, sickle cell advocate and poetry promoter.
- You consider Sir Eriata Oribhabor as your literary father. Can you remember the first time you met him? How has it been working with him?
Sir Eriata is more than a literary father to me. He is my father and mentor. I consider myself as one of his daughters. I met him online around 2014 and we met offline at CRIMMD Library that same year.
- Apart from being a member of PIN Board of Trustees, you also Lead the Ojokoro Connect Centre of PIN. How did you come about this? Give us a brief on the activities of the Centre and future plans for the centre.
My role as PIN Ojokoro Lead Rep is temporary, in fact, I don’t see myself as one. Ojokoro is my hood and I don’t want to miss out of the PIN benefits, that’s why I worked with other young poets to create that connect centre. As a temporary Lead rep I’m working hard to groom the first Lead Rep of Ojokoro Connect Centre.
- Are you still the Moderator of PIN Photo Poetry Contest? Any update?
Yes, I’m still the Moderator. Although due to work load and challenges of life, the PIN Photo Contest has been on hold for a while. But very soon the moderator will spice up the contest.
- You are a key member of the PIN team at Eko Children LitFest. What about this team?
Eko Children Literay Festival is one of the projects of PIN curated by Shola Adekunle Oguntoyinbo, the Lead Rep of Isheri Connect Center and a notable member of PIN Central network. It’s a great privilege to work with her due to her years of experience and inspiring nature. Other members of team her Oguntoyinbo Modupe, Clementina Owunmi and late Mrs. Adelakun of blessed memories.
- You are the initiator of Safe Dreams Initiative and you recently had a program on ZOOM. When was the initiative founded. How far has it been of positive impact to sufferers of sickle cell in your immediate community?
Safe Dreams Initiative was inaugurated in 2016, it’s my pet project geared towards children and most especially people living with Sickle Cell disorder. The Zoom event is in preparation for a discussion on June 19th which World Sickle cell Day. The discussion will take place on Safe Dreams Initiative Page on Facebook. The pandemic is causing more problems to sickle cell warriors, as a support group Safe Dreams is reaching out to the sickle cell survivors and the larger society on how to support people living with sickle cell in this critical time.
- As a member of PIN Central Network, I know you are also part of the Festival Poetry Calabar. How has it been attending the festival?
Festival Poetry Calabar is super amazing. It’s a kind of family get together for all poetry and art enthusiast in and outside the PIN family.
- No doubt, you are a very busy person who is committed to giving back to society. What’s your daily routine like?
Everyday living for me hangs on service to humanity. So either I’m working or relaxing I’m committed to making the life of the next person to me better.
- You are a poet with two great works of poetry to your credit. Why poetry?
Poetry to me is a unique voice helping me to say my inner thoughts and feelings.
- Your book The Farmer’s Daughter was unveiled four years ago. Who is your publishers? What influence does being an author have on you?
Farmer’s Daughter poems on the borderline is the child of Something for Everybody Venture. That book brought me to literary limelight and changed my name to Farmer’s Daughter among friends, colleagues, reading audience and family members.
- You are popularly called the Farmer’s Daughter. How did it come about?
My reading audience like the title. The farmer is what everyone can identify with and for those that know my background, they assumed the title is about my father and they prefer to address me with the book title.
- Poetry appreciation is gaining grounds in our country. What in your opinion is the place of poetry as a genre of literature in Nigeria? What future? What opportunities for Poets?
Poetry is life, poets are unique people with unique voices. With poetry, great feat can be achieved in Nigeria. I see a future where poets and their works will be accorded the respect they deserve. However, the poets should keep working hard to brush up their skills.
- Do you think PIN is living up to her aims and objectives?
Yes, PIN is gradually becoming a household name in the literary circle in Nigeria and we are covering grounds outside the shores of Nigeria. With more dedicated hands we can do more.
- What’s your opinion about Poets in Nigeria as a vanguard of poetry renaissance in our country?
PIN is a foremost literary hub in Nigeria. We are promoting poetry in a unique and impactful ways.
- As one who has been with PIN since inception till date, what message do you have for younger poets?
Dear young poet, don’t give up on your dreams. Be focused and don’t get involved in activities that can steal your happiness. Poets are cheerful people.