Saturday, November 28, 2009

Meet Ogo Akubue-Ogbata: "A Writer Should Have A Voice--A Loud One"

Who is Ogo Akubue-Ogbata? An African woman with humble beginnings who’s using her gifts to inspire and empower others to live with purpose, passion and authenticity.  

Tell us a little about Creativity and Sense You know how a lot of creative people shy away from business activities in the name of being ‘artistic’? Well, Creativity and Sense LLC is a company I set up not just to help people find their talents and discover real purpose but to help them marry their creativity with solid business skills in order to take their vision further. We offer training, coaching and consulting programs and have worked with organisations such as Business Link and the University of Northampton Business School - both in the UK.      

Which talent would you most like to have? I wish that I could play a few musical instruments.

What do you think of Nigerian literature? It’s definitely exciting, the beautiful ones are being born.  

What was growing up like? Very interesting. Ours was a big family – four girls and three boys so there was lots of activity. I was a bit of a bookworm, to be honest with you.

How do you balance work and writing? I set specific goals and make the most of my time. When I remember that life is precious and I won’t be here forever, I’m motivated to no end.

This is your debut, how does it feel? Amazing! I had an enjoyable time writing this novel and hope that people will be inspired and empowered by it.

Why did you write Egg-Larva-Pupa-Woman? I was inspired (by the ongoing debate over Nigeria’s validity and survival prospects) to create an intimate portrait of a woman who defies all odds economically, emotionally and socially - a woman who is sculpted by the unpleasant circumstances of life into a breathing work of art.   Egg­-Larva-­Pupa-­Woman shows that obstacles can be surmounted with faith and 'inspired action', that family and nationhood are sacred and that love triumphs over fear.  Of recent, there have not been many dynamic, high achieving, female characters in African fiction and we need those iconic, fully fleshed-out characters to inspire us as a people. The protagonist, Nkiru, meets the need for such a character. She is kind, witty, enterprising and beautiful but most of all she is a survivor. This determined disposition is what Africa and the world needs now.  

How did you research the story? I researched the book intensely by raiding historical archives, talking to people and examining photographs. Reading works set in the colonial era helped me capture the tempo of the times. The Nigerian High Commission in London was helpful. Imagination filled in the gaps.    

What book are you reading now? Blonde Roots by Bernadine Evaristo.

What will a book about your life be called? I say Live a little then write a little. A book about my life will be ‘untitled’ at the moment and not finished anytime soon.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Losing loved ones and having to live with the knowledge that you’ll never see them walk the face of the earth again.

Who is your perfect audience? An honest yet respectful audience. Honesty stretches a writer’s growth whilst respect nurtures confidence and creativity.

How does being a Nigerian influence your writing? It makes me write about Nigeria and the issues that affect Nigerians with a style and energy that is uniquely Nigerian yet universally accessible.

What is your most treasured possession? My soul.

What inspires your writing? Life.

Favourite book of all time: The bible.

What’s the role of a writer in a society? In my humble opinion, a writer's role is not merely showcasing chaos and leaving people wondering what to make of it but creating stories that inspire change and provoke positive aspiration.

What part of writing do you enjoy most? I love it all. Crafting the plot, breathing life into the characters, researching the facts, editing... even post-press activities like networking and public speaking are enjoyable to me. That’s what creativity and sense is all about.

Who are your favorite writers? How much time have we got? I don’t have any favourites in particular. I admire a huge host of writers for all different reasons.

What is the last thing you read that made you cry? I don’t recall ever reading anything that’s actually made me cry - it’s movies that sometimes do that to me. Angela's Ashes (Frank McCourt) and The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) were pretty sad though.  

What is the strangest research you’ve done? I haven’t done anything strange but watch this space.  

What is the worth of a book? Depends on who’s written the book plus why and how they’ve written it. Some books are worthless. A great book however, is priceless.

Philosophy of life Do unto others as you want done to you. Speak for those who have no voice. Do what you do best and do it with creativity and sense.

What does it mean to be a writer? Having a voice- a loud one.


  1. Nice to get a peep into the writer, I hope to read the book soon.

  2. Just finished her book which I very much enjoyed - well done Ogo