Monday, December 23, 2013


Interview by By Taiwo Ajayi

 The fact that Jude Dibia is not a desperate voice on social media,  trying to prove a point, jostling for “over-lordship” in a set-up that  is swallowed by too much noise and anxious to be heard at all cost-
 expressing thoughtless points, frantic plug-ins, casting unnecessary  judgements, whirling and dizzy and constipated by cultic frenzy, adds  to his aura- of a prince and his total disinterest in the moppet show.
 Jude Dibia as a daring writer is almost an understatement. And that iis on account of the controversial angles of his works - Walking with  Shadows (2005), Unbridled (2007), and Blackbird (2011). An
 award-winning author with well-received novels, Jude won the 2007 Ken Saro-Wiwa Prize for Prose (sponsored by NDDC/ANA) and ended as a finalist in the 2007 NLNG Prize. With short stories appearing on many platforms, Dibia is taking on even more ambitions as a publisher. Thymbleweed, his publishing outfit, is thundering into 2014.  He shares this and more in this interview with Taiwo Ajayi
 How have you been able to use your position as a celebrated author to
 influence society?

 Firstly, I really do not think of myself in those terms, that is:  celebrated! People get too carried away with such heady stuff that it  gets rather distracting. We all influence society with our actions. I  want to believe my stories and novels have had some sort of influence  in society. My writings have touched on issues as diverse as  inequality, abuse, migration as well as sexuality and how these things  affect the common person. As a reward, I have had a lot encouragement  and great feedback from my readers.

 Running a successful nine-to-five and being one of Nigeria's top  authors, can you describe your work habits?

 My work habit is quite disciplined. I follow a strict time schedule  and try to fit in my writing and work within it. It has not been easy  but I do try. Some years are better than others. Another thing is that  I never put myself under unnecessary pressure to produce any work.

 How encouraging is Nigeria to authors of your calibre?

 Things are beginning to change for the writers in Nigeria. With some  of our writers winning international awards or being short-listed and  recognized, things have become better. And we have the internet and
 social media to be thankful for.

What drives you to complete a story?

The characters. I am very much interested in people and how they resolve issues. I still get a rush from having a completed work published and read by people. I think that pushes me, somewhat.

What is, in your opinion, the worst exaggeration in the literary scene in Nigeria/Africa? Oh dear! I hate speaking for others and this question assumes a generality that isn't quite becoming. In the first place we have a relatively small literary scene in the country, so anything that is noticed may be seen to be exaggerated. I am, coming to think of it, a little too removed from the literary scene to able to make an informed guess.

How has your writing habits changed over the years?

What clear difference do you personally observe in your works? Before it was all about finishing the story as fast as possible and sharing it with readers. Now, I have become much more particular and careful with what I write. I pay more time to styling and effect. This has made my writing slower.

Who do you love to read?

A number of writers! I absolutely love Toni Morrison and James Baldwin. I enjoy the writings of Andrea Levy, Arundhati Roy and a number of Nigerian authors as well.

What is your main focus when telling a story?

Cause and effect! These are the driving force of many stories. And then I am drawn to complex characters.

Congratulations on Thymbleweed...

Thank you, very much!

Now you are an author and a publisher. Tell us the story behind Thymbleweed?

I have always been interested in the entire process of book production and publishing. Seeing well written and packaged books is still a thing that gives me immense pleasure. I want to discover some great writers and hopefully see them through publishing and greater things. Not forgetting the ideology of Thymbleweed is to publish the books people want to read...

* The full text of this interview can be read elsewhere on the internet

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