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MY PASSION FOR WRITING – ADELAKUN

By NBF News
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Adelakun
Ms. Abimbola Adunni Adelakun is one of the emerging writers in Nigeria. She grew up and schooled in Ibadan. Recently, she completed a Master of Arts degree in the Department of Communication and Language Arts of the University of Ibadan. While growing up, she took to writing fiction from the age of 16. This passion has seen her writing six unpublished manuscripts. She even wrote a novel for her B. A. project in the same university.

Her working experience has included stints as a teacher and librarian, and after graduation, she worked in Prima Garnet Ogilvy, a Lagos-based advertising agency as intern account manager. Ms. Adelakun is currently with The Punch newspapers. She is on the Life and Style desk and writes on the Arts - literary, music, visual, film, etc. She also writes news features and holds a regular opinion column in which she comments on topical issues.

She says she wrote Under The Brown Rusted Roofs in response to an observation made by the poet and playwright, Professor Femi Osofisan, during a tripartite faculty lecture given by poet and playwright, Professor Femi Osofisan when he declared that Ibadan, which used to be hub of literary activities had collapsed as there are no longer writers from Ibadan or stories based on Ibadan anymore. Since her worldview was carved out in the city, Ms. Adealakun felt Osofisan's comment was a challenge and she took it up.

Described as a book of many-tales-in-one, Brown Rusted Roofs was published in 2008 by the Ibadan-based Krafts Books but its rise to literary prominence has been gradual even after being shortlisted for two prestigious literary prizes that year - the Nigeria Prize for Literature (sponsored by the NLNG) and the Association of Nigerian Authors(ANA)/Jacaranda Prize. It is a tale that casts its net wide and brings in a catch-of-issues such as domestic violence, child abuse, promiscuity, superstition, polygamy, diabolism and political brigandage. Central to the story is the polygamous family of Chief Arigbabuwo and the intrigues within such a household and the neighbourhood.

M. Adelakun's debut has continued to draw positive reactions from the literati. Prize-winning author, Jude Dibia sees the novel as 'a seminal work in both Yoruba/Ibadan culture and women's writing in Nigeria. Adelakun's literal translation of Ibadan dialect, positions her as a kind of folklorist as she strives to represent speech patterns of the Ibadan Yoruba through an ethnographic and holistic approach.'

For poet laureate, Niyi Osundare, the book is 'frequently funny, invariably serious and wondrously wise,…(and) grabs the reader with an indescribable force. Ibadan city comes alive in this story in both domestic and public realms. The politics of polygamy is complicated by the polygamy of politics….Not since Achebe's Arrow Of God have I encountered a narrative so proverb laden and so rhetorically endowed. For Bimbola Adelakun, this is a tremendously promising debut.'

'One of the novel's most impressive strengths,' notes literary scholar Biodun Jeyifo, 'is its language, more precisely the deployment of vivid language that is deeply steeped in sexual and bodily tropes to evoke character, to probe motivations, to express raw emotions as well as the joys, sorrows and wonders of individual lives lived in changing, uncertain times in one of Africa's biggest cities. This is why Ibadan, the 'old' but resilient traditional Ibadan, can be regarded as the major 'character' in the novel.'

Notable poet and essayist Odia Ofeimun, who was also part of the 9 Writers, 4 Cities tour with Ms. Adelakun in 2009 has described the novel as the most favourite book he has read in the past five years. Ms. Adelakun's novel is also the Abuja Writers Forum Online Bookclub's choice book for September and one of the members, Mike Ekunno has reacted to it as a clinical insight into human tragedy.

Recently, she was featured at the 26th edition of the Guest Writer Session, a popular monthly literary event hosted by the Abuja Writers' Forum (AWF) which showcases emerging and established writers. Her novel, Under The Brown Dusted Roofs, which is steadily generating an avalanche of literary enthusiasm, was in focus.