I recently had the opportunity to chat with Jude Dibia, author of new novel Blackbird. His previous books are Walking with Shadows (2005) and Unbridled (2007). Unbridled won the Ken Saro-Wiwa award for prose in 2007 and was a finalist in the 2008 NLNG prize for Literature. Blackbird is his third novel. It is published by the Jalaa Writers Collective.
What motivated you to want to be a writer?
In a sense, writing has always been a part of me. I kept a dairy when I was younger, writing about things that happened to me and the people around me; it contained my deepest thoughts and fears. I was also surrounded by books. My dad had a library at home, so at an early age I had, at my disposal, classical novels as well as modern contemporary reads. I never woke up one day and said to myself ‘alright, I want be a writer!’ No, it was an organic process, from reading so much and then wanting to tell my own stories eventually.
Who or what is your muse?
My muse! I draw inspiration from a number of sources. I could be somewhere and overhear a conversation or a phrase that would inspire a story idea. I love listening to music as well, and sometimes when I am pulled in, I find myself dreaming up stories. But primarily, the most significant source of inspiration is life. Life is my muse.
What is your best quote of all time?
I have several, but the one that comes to mind immediately is: ‘If there’s a book you really want to read but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’ This was by Toni Morrison, one of my favourite authors.
What keeps you going?
Knowing that hard work pays off and, also feeling so fortunate that people appreciate what I do as a writer.
What are you doing right now?
Having a bagel and coffee.
Your best blurb for your new book: Blackbird
Blackbird is a provocative novel that asks questions about beauty and truth… It studies the power of emotions—love, jealousy, pride and a sense of duty—and the terrifying frailness of identity.
It is an engaging story. It has plenty for everyone to mule over and some rather poignant questions and scenarios. It opens with the murder of a female expatriate living in a highbrow suburb somewhere in Lagos and one is left with a deep sense of the uneven dichotomies that exist in our present society. But above all, it is a story about four unique characters and how their worlds collide.
State of the nation and your hopes for the future
I would hate to say I have given up on Nigeria, but we have yet another opportunity to make a change and elect responsible leaders, and this on its own looks promising. There’s so much that has to be done, with infrastructure, with education, with the moral of the people and imbibing a sense of pride for our identity and dignity in honest work. This change starts with the individual and from there we can build a great country
For now I am focused on promoting my new novel ‘Blackbird’. I do have some story ideas that I would develop in the near future. I should have some short stories out this year as well.
© Adura Ojo, April 2011
Jude has kindly donated a copy of his new book Blackbird for a readers’ giveaway competition. To win, tell us why the book should be yours. Email your statement to firstname.lastname@example.org. Competition closes on Monday 25th April at 10pm – Nigerian time. The winning entry will be published on Wednesday 27 April. Please Note: Anyone who enters the competition here on NS, cannot do the same on: “Adura Ojo Presents”. Thanks for your co-operation:)