Denja Abdullahi: Artist of the Month – November 2017

For the month of November the foundation is excited to present the President of the Association of Nigerian Author’s (ANA), Denja Abdullahi as the Artist of the Month for this maiden edition.

Denja Abdullahi is an award winning poet, literary essayist and culture technocrat. He is the current National President of the Association of Nigerian authors (ANA). His collection of poems includes Mairogo: A Buffon’s Poetic Journey Around Northern Nigeria, Abuja Nunyi, The Talking Drum, A Thousand Years of Thirst, among others. Denja Abdullahi currently works for the National Council for Arts and Culture.

In an interview with the Nation Newspaper’s Edozie Udeze, Denja explained that he loves the most, “books that explore people’s historical and cultural experiences in an epical sweep; whether poetry, plays or novels, likes profundity when it comes to books, profundity of theme and style.

Enjoy our Ten-Question Series Interview with Denja Abdullahi here:

Q: If you could change the world with your work, what great feat would you like to achieve?

Denja: I will want people to laugh more and take things easy by eradicating injustice everywhere. The world today as it is is so unjust. People think only of themselves and hardly look on to things from other people’s perspectives.

Q: What piece of all your works are you most proud of?

Denja: Certainly I am proud of the buffoon and the world he inhabits in my book Mairogo: The Buffoon’s poetic journey around Northern Nigeria.

Q: Does language matter to you?

Denja: It does as language must be striking and powerful in a successful work of literature. Language indeed is the literature. Language can be used to build and to destroy. It can also do many things in between.

Q: What are you currently working on?

Denja: I hardly do any planned creative writing these days. I have been largely creative in managing the writers’ body and doing a lot of reading.

Q: What are your preferred tools, time and place for creativity?

Denja: My laptop and ipad. It can be anytime and the place must throb with the zest for life. I do not like quiet places to write. I write best in noisy places where I get disconnected from the noise around and at the same time allow it to get to me.

Q: What are the new frontiers of African literary culture?

Denja: The frontiers are there in the cyberspace where young people push the edges of literary culture. Writing across cultures and collaboration across geographical, ideological and religious divides may be the new frontiers.

Q: What character from an African novel would you like most to meet and why?

Denja: I will like to meet Njoroge in Ngugi’s Weep not, Child . I will like to ask him what happened to his two mothers after his father’s death and his fledging romance with that little girl ( I cannot recall her name again)from the white settler’s family.

Q: If you are giving the opportunity to write your last line ever, what would it be?

Denja: What use will the world make of this labour after we are gone?

Q: How do you think we can trigger creativity in children?

Denja: By telling them stories and letting them know that stories are created and they can tell theirs too!

Q: If you meet your 10-year-old self, what writerly advice would you give him?

Denja: Observe things for the unusual, read, get involved in things and create things to write about if you find nothing that is worth writing about.

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