We are happy to be media partners with THE BAGUS TEAM in this Virtual Book Tour with Mr. Tolu Akinyemi. We had a little chat with him and we hope you enjoy it!
1) THE AFRO READER: Your poems are kind of ecclesiastical. Do you view writing and your art in general as a kind of spiritual practice?
TOLU: Yes, I view writing as a form of spiritual practice, because by the mere art of reading books, lives can get transformed. I have been in the same boat before that the art of reading helped me to redefine the core of my existence. Before I started writing, I was first and foremost a reader. I believe it takes a deeper level of artistic expression to birth ideas and the spirituality in my art means someone can find solace through my words in a period of pain. There have been instances that my writings reflect people’s personal situation.
2) What did you edit out of your books. Dead Dogs Don’t Bark and Dead Lions Don’t Roar.
I have learnt to be honest in my writings and with my books as people can only relate with the truth. I have bared it all as I believe there is a lesson to be learnt through my pain and vulnerability. Everything I wrote in the two books have been published no matter how painful it is, I believe that someone out there can learn a lesson.
3) All poets have several words that come up over and over again, words or sentences that reflects the theme of their poetry. What are THREE of your absolute few words?
Procrastination, Time and Don’t stop roaring.
4) Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing energizes me, I feel refreshed whenever I am writing as I tend to be at my most creative best.
5) What is the most liberating thought you have ever had?
Publish that book (for my first poetry collection “Dead Lions Don’t Roar”) and the rest as they say is history.
6) If you could go back and whisper in the ear of your 16year old, what would you tell them?
Don’t wait for perfect conditions, the World is your Oyster go forth and conquer. And do not be dismayed by negative circumstances.
7) What inspires you to write poetry?
Writing powerful verses does a whole lot of good to the mind and the spirit and the short bust of words in poetry allows me to inspire people. I also love poetry as I can express my ideas quickly and convey my message in an effective manner.
8) What book are you reading currently?
I am currently reading “In these days of Prohibition” by Caroline Bird.
9) Describe African poetry and literature.
To my understanding, African poetry and literature is the contribution by African writers to the African Continent through our writings and collection of works. African Poetry and Literature should encompass both the struggles and victories the continent has experienced in times past and the murky waters the African People continue to plough through by the day. The African continent has truly evolved from the pre-colonial era to the present times and the narratives without any colorations will be best juxtaposed by African Writers.
10) As a writer are there times you reach a serious roadblock and find yourself unable to write? What keeps you going during these creative slumps?
There are days when I am not just in the mood for writing probably due to my very busy schedule. However, whenever I experience writers block, I always try to keep writing as that is one of the best ways to keep the creative juices flowing. I tend to somehow overcome this by writing and whatever I write during these creative slumps always comes out beautiful even though it may start as a very tedious exercise.
Tolu Akinyemi was born in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria and currently lives in the United Kingdom. Tolu Akinyemi is an exceptional talent, out-of-the-box creative thinker, a change management agent and a leader par excellence. Tolu is a business analyst and financial crime consultant as well as a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) with extensive experience working with leading Investment banks and Consultancy Firms. Tolu is also a personal development and career coach and a prolific writer with more than 10 years’ writing experience; he is a mentor to hundreds of young people. He worked as an Associate mentor in St Mary’s School, Cheshunt and as an Inclusion Mentor in Barnwell School, Stevenage in the United Kingdom, helping students raise their aspirations, standards of performance and helping them cope with transitions from one educational stage to another.
Tolu has headlined and featured in various Open Slam, Poetry Slam, Spoken Word and Open Mic events in the United Kingdom. He also inspires large audiences through spoken word performances, he has appeared as a keynote speaker in major forums and events in the United Kingdom and facilitates creative writing masterclasses to all types of audiences.
In March 2018 he was endorsed by the Arts Council England as an ‘Exceptional Talent’.
CLICK HERE to purchase Tolu Akinyemi’s books.