Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the ninety-fourth, is of Sheriff Garba.
Sheriff Garba is the author of the poetry anthology, Aries, Aphrodite, and Aries. He is a Nigerian novelist, poet, playwright, and essayist. His numerous works span the disciplines of literature, history, philosophy, and science. At present he is working on Nigeria and Her Leaders – a chronology of people and events that have shaped the life of Nigeria since independence from the British in 1960; Roses in the Twilight – an anthology of love poetry; Iskókí the Essaylogue – anthology of essays on humanities and socio-economic dialectics in Nigeria, Africa, and the world; and Legend of the Wakili Tales a multi-cultural YA novel.
He is the recipient of the 2006 Centre for Environment and Science Education, CESE of the Lagos State University, LASU Best Essayist prize. He is also a member of the Lagos State branch of the Association of Nigerian Authors.
In his leisure time, he loves to battle it out on Mortal Kombat, listen to music especially rap, and watch movies.
He was formerly an active contributor on the Canadian news website, Suite101.com and now writes a column, Sheriff’s Shelf in the Nigerian online magazine, Ayaka. He resides in Ogun state, Nigeria.
And now from the author himself:
If I could describe myself in two words, those words would be unconventional and versatile. Unconventional has a lot to do with my personal worldview and actions but versatile is what best describes my relationship with the arts. I love the evolving, the exciting and perhaps that is what led me to poetry. The unconventional part of me decreed my choice of free verse as the predominant vehicle to express my creative verve.
Coming from a multiethnic background and growing up in a multiethnic city like Lagos also played its own part in the fashioning of my versatile self. Little wonder that even though I started with the prose form, I subsequently branched out to other genres of literature.
I wrote my first book, a storybook when I was eight or so. The book unfortunately got lost in edition. I got over that awful experience and later went on to write a novel at the age of twelve / thirteen. However I had to wait till when I was eighteen before I was able to finally savour the euphoria of seeing my poetry anthology in print.
Unfortunately another attribute of mine with particular regard to the literary arts is laziness. On the one hand it is a good quality actually, for a writer to exercise patience and let his creative muse dictate his writing pace but on the other hand it is the major reason why I have only published one book to date.
As unconventional as I am, there is a part of me that remains obdurately conservative. That probably explains my weak social media presence. Nevertheless I still maintain some semblance of that. I am still an outsider to the e-book revolution but I manage a blog at http://sheriffgarba.wordpress.com and http://sheriffgarba.blogspot.com. I post articles rather infrequently – usually articles on socio-political and economic discourse from Africa and the rest of the world – but when I do, I ensure they are incisive and informative.
My choice of literary hangouts is the Association of Nigerian Authors monthly meet, which comes up second Saturdays of every month at the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
I strongly believe that a writer should never dissociate himself from the socio-political and economic happenings and or discourse in his immediate and larger society at any given time. As such I lend my voice to issues that crop up in this regard: politics, race relations, gender relations, and LGBT rights.
Having lived in Lagos for nineteen years, I now live in a rather rowdy but otherwise pleasant town in Ogun state, Nigeria.
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with Christian author Henry Miranda – the four hundred and third of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are fortnightly episodes, usually released on Sundays, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.