Obinna Udenwe is the author of the award winning works of fiction, Satans & Shaitans and Holy Sex.
He took time out to answer some questions. Enjoy the interview:
What is a regular day like for you?
I do not work for anyone so I have lots of time for myself – to do my work, read books and do my researches, write stories, edit my works in progress, and visit friends or go drinking. I take every day as it comes.
What is your guiding philosophy as a writer? What advice would you give upcoming novelists?
My philosophy is to work hard, hard, and hard and learn while working. Writing is like mathematics, if you do it every day, you master the skill and become better. To upcoming novelists, I say: never give up, and never be in a hurry to publish your work.
When did you decide you wanted to write? How much support were you given?
I started serious writing in the year 2005, after I completed my secondary school education. I was lucky to have received lots of love and support from friends and family. My dad’s friend gave us a gift of a computer so I typed my stories with it after writing them on paper. I had friends and relatives, who were very willing to read the drafts, edit and make suggestions – one of such persons was Simeon Opoke – a cousin of mine who worked with me on my novel for over two years never asking for anything in return.
With the running themes of crime, intrigue, and action, Satans and Shaitans is relatively unique in today’s African literature; it is a throwback to the era of Pacesetters. Why did you choose to write on these themes?
I think we have enough highbrow literary fiction in Africa – and you know what they say about eating one kind of food every day, all the time, you either get malnourished or something. So I think Africa needs diverse writers, especially for us to be able to build the African literary tradition – we need writers of crime, conspiracy, fantasy, erotica etc., etc. So yes, Satans and Shaitans is unique in the sense that it moved away from the normal narrative to an action-packed form of writing, while still maintaining an oral narrative that is fluid and paced. So I chose to write on the themes because I wanted to tell a story that mirrors the realities on ground in Africa today – the insurgency crisis that has killed thousands of people in East and West Africa, the political instability in the continent and how this affects the growth of the economy and governance, and the religious dogma and foolishness that is the bane of our common existence as a people.
What, to you, is the best thing you have ever written?
I only have one full length novel for now, so perhaps in a few years to come when I must have published two or three more I would be able to answer correctly. But I am a well published short story writer, and I think that out of all my short stories the erotica titled ‘A Temporary Affair’ published in January this year by Expound Magazine is the best. Then there is the ‘Holy Sex’ series on Brittle Paper which is the most widely read post ever on that platform.