What you need to know:
- I started writing when I was eight. I wrote stories about the simple world of children or probably reactions to the stories I read by writers like Chinua Achebe (Chike and The River), Cyprian Ekwensi, Mamman Vatsa, and Kola Onadipe.
- I started taking writing seriously when I wrote a short story, The Depressing Command for Litro, a UK magazine.
- My discovery was more of an organic process. I had the privilege of reading many works of fiction as a child because my dad bought those books.
Feyisayo Anjorin is a widely published Nigerian writer. A filmmaker by training, he is also an actor. During this interview, conducted on the Easter Monday of 2021, Feyisayo is at home, spending time with his family. Although a full-time writer, he had decided not to touch any keyboard or let characters in his head drag him to his study. He clarifies that writing is so solitary that if one cannot establish a balance between it and family, he might risk losing them.
Feyisayo Anjorin’s other works have appeared on Litro, Brittle Paper, Bella Naija, and Bakwa Magazine. He studied Film at AFDA Johannesburg.
“I write at dawn before my children wake up and late at night when they are asleep,” and with these words began Feyisayo’s conversation with Life & Style.
How did you discover that you can write?
I started writing when I was eight. I wrote stories about the simple world of children or probably reactions to the stories I read by writers like Chinua Achebe (Chike and The River), Cyprian Ekwensi, Mamman Vatsa, and Kola Onadipe. I started taking writing seriously when I wrote a short story, The Depressing Command for Litro, a UK magazine. My discovery was more of an organic process. I had the privilege of reading many works of fiction as a child because my dad bought those books. So I imagined I could create words on paper too, and I started writing in notebooks my dad bought for his use.
Briefly summarise the books you have written.
The Night My Dead Girlfriend Called is a work of fantasy fiction about a police officer who opposes the introduction of law enforcement robots in 22nd century Nigeria. Still, his sanity is questioned when he tells his boss about the regular phone calls with his dead girlfriend.
Kasali’s Africa is about Kasali, a polygamous farmer whose old ideas conflict with the winds of change blowing across the region and how these conflicts bring an end to Africa as he knows it.
The Stuff of Love Songs is a work of contemporary romance about a man and a woman in a romantic relationship who decide to appear in a televised game show meant to test their level of knowledge about each other. It turns out that the little they do not know about each other may be bigger than they think.
One Week in the Life of A Hypocrite is also a work of contemporary romance about a young man disturbed by the fact that others may be as flawed as he is, or even more so.
Your books focus on hypocrisy. Any reason for this?
I think we all have a bit of prejudice and hypocrisy in us. When we work from this premise, we will come out of that mindset and practice. When we condemn something about another human being, we must do it from knowing that we do have our own flaws. I’m not talking about condemnable criminal acts; I’m talking about moral choices. When we condemn people’s moral choices, we should do it because some of our moral choices that we will rather keep secret. After all, we are not proud of them.
So, I intend to start from the point of awareness, making people aware of the human tendency to be hypocrites because we want to please people, and then that awareness can lead to change.
How is the response to your work so far?
Kasali’s Africa is the most popular of the books, such that some people call me Kasali. I think Kasali is one character that I feel like I knew personally before putting words on paper.
You have published on Amazon and in print, are there any distinctions in these different ways to publish?
Amazon makes the book accessible to the public in territories where there is no publishing deal for paperbacks. In Nigeria, for example, Kasali’s Africa is available in paperback format in bookstores. Apart from availability, it’s the same. Bookstores have a percentage of sales, Amazon too. Amazon sells e-books too, a growing market because many people (unlike me) enjoy e-books.
How does your daily life influence your writing?
I am a storyteller, full time. So I am either reading or writing. Sometimes I do TV and movies, too; my life revolves around storytelling. I write for the film industry too. Sometimes I develop something along the line of my personal experience or my loved ones, but no one will ever know because I blend it properly. I am naturally an introvert, so it helps.
What are you working on?
I am currently writing a sequel to One Week in The Life of A Hypocrite and writing the second draft of a movie script with the working title The Devil’s Medical Team.