Sayo Juba is an African writer and Poet. Born in Ondo state Nigeria, Sayo, has authored two exciting books selling fast on books shelves across the world. Her first book is a collection of poetry titled You’re one of them (and other poems). Her second book Tort and the Townies was described as “Novel, Comic and Didactic” by The Sun, Nigeria.
What would you love to be remembered for?
I would love to be remembered as an author who wrote at least one book for everyone; the young and the old, the babies at heart and the growing fetus, the homesick and the love birds, everyone.
Tell us about yourself and what you love most about yourself
I am Sayofunmi, A creative writer and an early childhood educator. I love the fact that I smile a lot. Lol, people tell me I can smile for 24 hours.
When did you discover your passion for writing and what do you think informed that passion?
I can’t really remember the date or time, but I remember seeing my primary school notes, and at the back of it were plays written by me, so it should be around when I was in primary school. I think the fact that I think a lot informed me that passion, a scene, scenario, or something else is always going on in my head, no matter how busy I am.
What literary genre do you love most and why do you have a bias for it?
I love poetry a lot because you can explain a whole lot with just a few words, I really love that about poetry.
What inspires your creativity?
People. People going on about their day-to-day life inspires me a lot, and those moonlight stories told to us by our grandparents
What’s your antidote for writer’s block – if you ever have such?
I try to write down whatever random things come to my head, no matter how silly they are. Even if it’s one word, I write it down and keep it, then after some time I keep reading and re-reading the word, and inspiration will surely come, lol.
Tell us about your latest book, Tort and the Townies, what informed your choice of children’s literature?
Tort and the Townies is a sort of modernized version of the famous tortoise stories most of us listened to as children, I have written it in such a way that not only Nigerian children will benefit from the morals of the tale, but also children growing up in the western world.
As a practicing early childhood educator, I noticed there are not so many well-detailed books on morals for kids, especially kids in Nigerian schools, so I thought to fill the gap. That brought about my choice of writing a book for children.
What would you say is the strongest message encapsulated in Town and the Townies?
Greed, Friendship, Betrayal. A whole lot, you will get more if you read the book (lol).
How has your experience as an early childhood educator shaped your work as a storyteller?
Of course, it has a huge impact on my work, working closely with children has made me have an understanding of what might be going on in the head of five-year-old, or what books they would love to read.
There is this ongoing debate about how much Nigerians love to read, in your view, would you say Nigerians read?
I would say a lot of Nigerians NOW read, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that a lot of Nigerians still don’t read. But I’m glad there is now awareness in Nigeria on the benefits of reading.
As an educator and storyteller, how do you think African parents can inculcate the love of books in their kids?
I would say African parents should not suddenly start forcing their children to read. It’s a process, first read to them, then read with them, and eventually, they will pick up books to read on their own.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?
I am currently re-reading “Your father walks like a crab” by poetolu.
Who is your best author of all time, African and non-African?
My best African author is Chinua Achebe, and my Best non-African author is Louise Rytter.
Any favourite novel, poetry collection of short stories?
My books. Lol
What do you do at your leisure when you are not reading, writing, or spending time on social media?
I think (lol), I play out many scenarios in my head that I will later write about. Okay on a more serious note, I spend time with children when I’m not busy with any of the above-mentioned activities.
You can catch up on Sayo Juba and her writings on her website here
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