Winner of the Etisalat Prize for Literature, Jowhor Ile, was on the cover of Guardian Life Magazine today, along with two other contenders for the prize, Jacqui L’Ange and Julie Iromuanya.
Ile won the cash prize of £15,000 in addition to a fellowship at the University of East Anglia for his debut book, After Many Days. In the interview with Guardian Life, the accounting major talks about his passion for literature. Read the excerpts below:
On what influences his creative process as a writer:
Mostly reading, my writing comes much from reading widely and listening to stories and also just paying attention to the world. Generally, people inspire me, a wide range of people. I see people sometimes and I start imagining lives that they might have, that they don’t even have. I think much of writing can be informed by just paying attention. The stories come from you and they can be influenced and inspired by the things outside you.
On what inspired his novel:
I wrote this book for the same reason I write: I am moved to do it. I have no other explanation for it. It’s what I love doing. It is difficult, it is challenging, but it is also a source of great joy when it is going well. I feel fortunate to be making my living from it.
On if he thinks the Etisalat Prize is helping to advance literature in Africa:
Yes! It is a great thing to support literature because writing is a difficult process and it takes a lot of time and with Etisalat honouring literature, it’s heart warming and I can see that it will be some kind of motivation for people. It is always a good thing to support writing, to support the art because it is always a good thing to have writers in the society and writers need support. We are grateful to Etisalat for this.
The Etisalat Prize for Literature is a pan-African prize celebrating new African writers of published fiction books. It was created in 2013.
To read more about Jowhor Ile’s interview and that of the two runners up, buy Guardian newspaper of Sunday, 28th May, 2015.