Never in any of the pre-existing epochs of Nigerian literature have a vast majority of people risen to answer the call to write and tell our stories. Out of the need to create a fun and encouraging platform for this rising league of writers to learn and connect, Miss Faith Moyosore Agboola started The African Writers platform on the 24th April 2016. She is a storyteller, inspirational writer and speaker, filmmaker and poet. I had the privilege of interviewing her and she has a lot to share with us.
Ebube: What inspired you told start The African Writers.
Faith: It’s a lot of things. But I recall that I was a young writer seeking for a home like ours. When I didn’t find one online, I searched for other means. Got an opportunity to intern at one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers and I learned so much. Once I was done I knew that not many young writers would be lucky to have such an experience. I then decided to create an online community that connects us with one another, shares information and features our works. I also knew that it needed to be fun and relatable hence the style. So it was basically born out of a personal need that I realized was a general problem.
Ebube: So far, do you think you have done a good job with your platform?
Faith: I think we have done well. There’s a whole lot more to be done. But I’m grateful for the progress so far. We are about 18,000 currently and we have organized two successful major writing events – African Writers Meet 2017 & 2018. We also get a lot of dms daily thanking us for existing. We are definitely making impact. I want to do more though and hopefully this 2019 would usher us to doing more. There’s is room for growth and improvement and we will not stop striving for more impact.
Ebube: What advice would you give a new writer on TWA, someone just starting out?
Faith: Don’t compare yourself to other writers that started before you. That is a recipe to failure. Let them motivate you but don’t let them make you lose faith in your ability. Everyone started out clueless and rough but with practice and learning we all grew. So trust in your work and allow it to bloom.
Ebube: Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Faith: Honestly, not really. Wanted to be a TV presenter but reading a novel at age 11 and writing an episodic series on a book for the entertainment of my classmates kinda switched my mindset. I discovered I had a skill from the reception I got and I enjoyed creating the characters and the stories. It was beautiful and from that moment I decided that Ill do whatever it takes to become a worldwide bestselling author. Still on the journey.
Ebube: What book or author has most influenced your personal writing?
Faith: Hmmmm. To be honest, none. I love psychological thrillers, romantic suspense, romantic comedy and adventure. So maybe I’ll say the genre has influenced my personal writing. I’ve read diverse books across these genres. There has to be love, comedy and alarming stuff in my work. Its just what I like.
Ebube: How important do you think reading is to writers?
Faith: Honestly very very important. You CANNOT be an excellent writer without being a heavy reader. I have discovered that the more I read the better I get. If you want to be a poet read and listen to tons of poets. The same goes for all other genres. There’s no way around it. Read!
Ebube: Recommend three books people should get a hold of.
Faith: The Bible, The War Of Art & Steal Like An Artist.
Ebube: For you, which comes first, the plot or character?
Faith: The character. I think up characters and let them tell the story.
Ebube: You engaged TWA on a “warfare” against writers block last year. What was the outcome and what’s your take on Writer’s Block?
Faith: Lol, Warfare, I like. So I noticed a lot of writers tend to stop creating because they think they are suffering from writers block. For me writers block is a myth and a product of your mental state and emotions. The purpose of the challenge was to get them to write irrespective of how they felt. Write even about writers block. At the end of it, a large majority of the participants realized the truth it was just their mindset. So I can joyfully say it was successful.
Ebube: You just had The African Writers Meet-up, how was it for you? Did it end as expected?
Faith: It was everything in one. Stressful. Fun. Impactful. Tedious. Smooth. Rough. We surpassed our target number of attendees. We had amazing speakers deliver deep insights into the world of African literature and the digital space. The spoken word slam was also successful and the winner is currently recording his poetry EP. The anthology is in progress. We had some hitches most definitely and doing this is a huge learning curve for me. I am most convinced this year will be better and an improvement on all that happened. Grateful for the community that keeps cheering us on.
Ebube: On a light note, pick one of these: Tea/Coffee, Movie / Book, Morning Person/Night Owl, City/Village, Social Media / Book. Paperback/EBook.
Faith: Coffee! Both! Night Owl! City! Social media! Paperback!
Ebube: A final note to any writer struggling to make something useful out of a writing career.
Faith: To be a successful writer you have to be patient. Ensure that you are truly in love with the craft and that you are determined to give it your very best. Its a long journey of reading, practicing, putting in the work, sending out your manuscripts/articles and sharing online. But one work can change your life forever and make everything worth it. But what would be bad is if you gave up on the brink of such greatness. My advice: keep putting in the work. Keep trying, eventually your success would make up for all the time, energy and money invested.
You can find Miss Faith onInstagram: @storiesbyafmThe African Writers:Instagram: @africanwriters.Twitter: @WriteGrowBecome.Website: http://www.theafricanwriters.com.