Michael Afenfia’s roller coaster as a writer


Through Henri akubuiro

The literary world has undergone various generational changes, ranging from ideological tendencies, such as Marxism, Realism, Romanticism to Modernism, Postmodernism, Structuralism, Poststructuralism and Deconstruction, to name a few trends. Writers keep reinventing themselves. The prolific Nigerian writer, Michael Afenfia, is no exception.

Afenfia is the author of five novels which have left indelible imprints on writing. His robust adaptation of his works to adapt to the dynamism of contemporary realism, carves out a niche of readership selected for him, with whom to be reckoned with.

Since its beginnings eleven years ago, When the moon caught fire (2010) – a novel on the thematic preoccupation with slavery, in its second offering, A Street Called Lonely (2011), in its third act of faith, Don’t die wednesday (2014), which dwells on the unusual theme of football; to his penultimate play and blockbuster, The mechanics of Yenagoa (2020), whose comic twists present it as a recreational masterpiece that triggers laughter in hearts seeking solace in literature, Afenfia has never ceased to chomp on the brakes.

“Writing is innate. I started writing in high school, and it stuck with me, “he says. The literary review of the sun in an e-chat from Canada. In his formative years he enjoyed reading Buchi Emecheta and Chinua Achebe.

Afenfia has this rare touch of ingenuity in her novels. The stories are woven in such a way that they are endearing to readers, not only in their structure and form, but also in their themes and titles. Adopting themes and styles that are not so mainstream gives Afenfia’s literary pieces the impetus to engage the readership without restraint.

He says of his trajectory: “Considering I’m a laggard when it comes to editing, I would say I didn’t do too badly, and I’m happy with my ride so far. I can do more for sure, but now there is no more pressure to prove myself or be accepted.

“More than my own personal growth as a writer, I am happy to have been able to inspire and influence younger and newer writers to publish and be seen in the writing community. And for me, it’s even more important, ”he says.

His first book, When the moon caught fire, recalls the vicissitudes of the slavery of humanity, in particular Africans.

A Street Called Lonely is a romantic thriller with remnants of detective fiction in the style of the international masterpieces of Hadley Chase and Sydney Sheldon. Don’t Die on Wednesday, is a story about the intrigues of a professional footballer. One thing is clear in Afenfia: it explores themes that only a few good men can dare.

How else to explain a modernity a tale reminiscent of slave routes and agonies as most writers are preoccupied with new forms of post-colonial realities including sex trade, human trafficking, forced labor, etc., as summarized his first book?

A reviewer writes on his third novel: “Don’t die wednesday is a story of the game of life; when life suddenly becomes fraught with danger and fear and no one knows how the game will end. Clearly, these new ideas expose Afenfia’s ingenuity as a renowned mathematician.

His masterpiece, The Mechanics of Yenagoa, is from a spontaneous weekly social media series, where the notorious escapades of Ebinimi, the Mechanic of Yenagoa, are told with a joke and panache that has thrilled you. readers and ask for more every week. Its widespread success led to its adaptation from a weekly online series to a full-fledged novel published by Masobe Books in 2020. Positive and compelling reviews from fans of the novel propelled a possible film or television adaptation.

The mechanics of Yenagoa takes us on a living journey to the small but prosperous town of Yenagoa, where Mechanic Ebinimi is either the most inept of individuals or the most naive “guy” to ever walk the streets of Nigeria’s infamous South-South. “

Building on the success of his previous works, Afenfia has attracted a cult readership of fans eager to glean from his work. Not only for the comic relief of his works, but also for the varied kaleidoscope of themes, titles and twists that he brings. Its literal use of language; the simplicity and fluidity of her flawless prose, combined with the dexterity with which the stories unfold, add up to situate Afenfia in a world of her own.

Recently, the writer moved to Canada where he made some amazing discoveries: “The guilds, associations and literary groups here are also doing everything possible to ensure that the rights of writers are protected and that writers get adequate compensation for their work. their work and their contributions to society.

“I also know that writers here enjoy more respect. People are not necessarily motivated by money and material things, so only people who are rich in this sense are respected and revered.

“Canadians would respect you for your talent and for what you bring to the table in the form of discussion and intellectual contribution. The arts and artists are respected and have a place in the community, and that’s important. Seriously, can we contemplate a world without artists and creatives? I would say no.

Although Afenfia’s themes are rare and closed, the loose forms of expression that people can identify with in her novels open up a prospect of opportunity for a new generation of readers and writers in this contemporary digital age. .

No wonder then that Afenfia’s fifth novel, The rain may never know (2021), which is scheduled for official release later in December, is already causing a stir among fans. What does this imply? What thematic concern would she explore? Love, laughter, life, insecurities, insensitivity or the dynamics of politics or other socio-literary realities still unknown? What form will it take? Suspense, thriller, comedy or romance? Either way, Afenfia comes with closed luggage waiting with crazy fantasies for readers seeking relief and respite from the very burden of life itself.

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