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‘Every Time You Decide to Write, What Is at Stake for You?’ Joshua Segun-Lean’s First Draft

Essayist and author of ‘Long Live the Children of Disobedience’ and ‘The Prophetic Vision of Chinua Achebe’, Joshua Segun-Lean, edits as he writes, ‘feeling for a sense and a sound I might never arrive at but must keep tuning for.’ Our questions are italicized. What books or kinds of books did you read growing up? There are ways in which a place can only be known in childhood, when the narrow walkways are still broad enough to run through and everything out of reach, as most things were, required hasty and impressive abuses of the imagination—the upturning of chairs, the displacing of tables, the recalling to light of those objects which, long sentenced to dormancy, suddenly appear to the excited mind as having existed for the very moment of its need. As with Tranströmer, my method was Linnaean: discover, collect, examine. The house in which I spent my formative years had three pleasures in abundance: books, paintings and objets d’art. My untutored int

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