‘I Don’t Believe in Canons.’ Ibrahim Anifowoshe’s First Draft

Author of ‘We Need New Names’, Ibrahim Anifowoshe, is currently interested in Islamic representation in Nigerian fiction. ‘I am fascinated by Jinn stories and Muslims know many of it. It’s like The Conjuring but with a Qur’an and prayer mat.’

Our questions are italicized. 

What books or kinds of books did you read growing up?

I grew up in a Muslim home so most of my early exposure to literature lay within the Islamic purview. I read books like The Obedient Faruq by Yousuph Ola Azeez, The Return of the Pharaoh by Zaynab Al-Ghazali. But towards the end of my primary education, I began to read more Nigerian literature. I remember enjoying Without A Silver Spoon by Eddie Iroh, Zumji and Uchenna by Pierre MeunierRalia, The Sugar Girl by Kola Onadipe. Secondary School boarding life shaped a lot of my reading. While there were the Enid Blytons and Nora Roberts being passed around, I think I was more of a read-all. Encarta was also my place of refuge. I used to sneak in the computer room to read the digital encyclopaedia. I also read The Bottled Leopard by Chukwuemeka Ike, The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born by Ayi Kwei Armah, Faceless by Amma Darko. I love history, too. So, I read My Command by Olusegun Obasanjo, The Five Majors by A.M Mainasara and Adéwálé Ademoyega’s Why We Struck. By the time I was in the university, I bought my books myself. So, I mix the foreign with the local. But African books, generally, are the best thing since sliced bread.

What book from your childhood would you pass on to someone younger?


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