Posts Tagged ‘Wole Soyinka’

The African Writer Is An Orphan, Says, Chinedu Ogoke, Nigerian Writer

December 13, 2010

[In 2002, Chinedu Ogoke, a Nigerian writer and translator resident in Germany published his first novel, Under Fire. His second novel is being awaited. In this interview with UGOCHUKWU EJINKEONYE, Mr. Ogoke speaks on his work and the state of African Literature in relation to the still thorny issue of audience definition]

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Chinedu Ogoke

When we talked in September 2003, after the publication of your first novel, Under Fire (2002), you said you already had the outline of another novel, how soon should we expect to read the novel?

2003! That is already an age. You mean I have allowed so much time to pass without coming up with another work? Phew, in that time, two novels ought to have been breathing on the table.

I had thought that what I had had been brought to a stage and so laid out that one should just do a smooth drive and that would be it. How wrong I was. Some pages of the outline, which is elaborate, have gone missing. Snatched away by the wind of time. I built a pattern, though simple, that requires a reorientation to keep it going. I have found myself in an undesirable situation whereby I have to walk through the worlds I meant to depict, or replay events in those contexts. I have to rediscover our people’s speech habits and choice of words to construct such scenes. Something like that. They are not inconclusive outlines, but whole portions gone missing. You cannot insert peanuts for perm kernels and expect a flow. The right attitudes have to be found in the appropriate places.

Besides, my current research work came in and has to get priority attention. That naturally, caused some delays. Unless this current project gets out of the way, the manuscript will be lying where it is at the moment. The research work is boring. I detest conventions, and this is what I am forced to do. Rules here and there. Flowery language may be unwelcome here, which takes away the fun and the urge to move ahead with it. Assuming it were a novel, I wouldn’t need a driving license in every corner or adhering to a thousand traffic rules.

In fact, I work on the novel once in a while as a kind of push for the project at hand. Else even the project will be there, with nothing going. One third of the novel has been written, which includes the last page. Let’s see; by the end of this year, 2008, we can be talking about a conclusion of a second novel. Publishing is something else, for obvious reasons.

Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

Thank you. How much of African and Nigerian Literature is being studied in Germany?

German society is served by as much African Studies as the country requires. A German student who finds himself or herself in a classroom for African Studies understands his or her business there is a foundation for eventual social work in Africa. When one turns to a lecturer of African Studies, the reasons might be different. From the score sheet of African studies, the University of Bayreuth takes the lead here. The spirit for which it has been recognized manifests even now. Presently, it has a series of events that runs like a continuous programme in any university anywhere.

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