MEET OUR WINNER: Olubunmi Familoni speaks on winning the #Endthestory Competition

1. How does it feel being the winner of the first #Endthestory Competition?

Another first—it is the first writing competition I have ever entered. I do not subscribe to the idea of reducing such a sublime and revered art form as Prose to the level of competing for monetary prizes; in my opinion it is sacrilegious! And would make such masters from Shakespeare to Hardy and Twain turn in their graves. Besides, I never saw myself as a “prizewriter”—I have never had that competitive nor sportsmanship spirit. But with winning this competition all that has changed—my views about writing competitions, about prizewriting, and about ancient writers turning in graves… I feel different.

2. How did you hear about the competition?

I heard about the competition from a very close friend and Twitterhead, Femi Eko. He called me up late one night and was going on about this writing competition that I MUST enter. I let him run to the end, then I reminded him about my views on writing competitions… I can’t remember how I got persuaded, because I wasn’t technically awake… When I did wake I went to look up the story.

3. What inspired your entry?

I was fascinated by the idea of completing a story; it was a novel concept to me, and interesting, so I took a night to digest Seun’s tale and sent in my denouement by morning.

4. Everybody wants to know how you did it with just 3 followers on twitter, you made TOP 10 with 84 votes?

Helloooooooo! Other life forms have been found to exist outside Planet Twitter, folks. And there I have more followers than Mahatma Gandhi; “underground followers” that know people that know people that know loads of people! So you see how the link works. 84 votes were just from a fraction of these… Besides, God is in the Director’s Chair!

5. Facebook OR Twitter? Which one works for you, and why?

I think Facebook works better for me, for many personal reasons; there I can express myself more literarily (no word restrictions), deeper issues get discussed, from literature to philosophy to religion to politics and social issues, and you cross paths with some of the world’s brightest minds in wit and intellect (no offence to Twitterers o!) What I enjoy most about that other blue social network site is that you get to exert yourself more, mentally, in so many ways… Plus, I’d rather have friends than followers; and I’d rather be a friend than a follower…

6. What’s your opinion of the story “The Sex life of a lagos mad woman”?

The story, ‘The Sex Life of a Lagos Madwoman’, was a thrilling one, somewhat ‘gentle’, in my opinion. Yes, it was courageous because of its very graphic nature, but it was quite gentle since it did not have that literary wildness, that mad abandon with words and metaphors… But what I enjoyed most about it was the fluidity of narration and sustenance of plot through the numerous sequences in it—it did not have that rigidity that many Nigerian writers are wont to be stuck in, as if they are afraid of writing outside the box and going wild with words; which is understandable considering the conservative nature of our environment; and a writer is the product of his society…

7. Tell us a bit about your background?

I was born in the ancient ‘village-city’ of Ibadan that has raised many literary giants. But I was raised, bred and honed in the dark heart of Lagos Island (Isale Eko, the literal bottom of Lagos, where shit happens everytime!) As for educational background, I was schooled on the hard, sharp streets of the same city where I earned most of my vital polymath experiences and gathered most of my material; the formal schooling bit was just to make me a “second-class mathematician” and nothing more (or less), so I consider it irrelevant.

8. Do you blog? If yes, tell us about your blog. If no, why don’t you have a blog?

I don’t “blog”. I think blogging has been tom-dick-and-harryed and so has become quite pedestrian such that you cannot separate the wheat from the chaff, and any Nigerian human with a laptop, a sizeable vocabulary and some wit is a blogger. This is why I keep a healthy distance from it. This does not take away the fact that it is a nice idea… and who knows, I just might join the fray someday.

9. With all the buzz you have generated, what should we be expecting from you next?

I never know what to expect from me. I’m so erratic that I make electricity supply in this country look good. But I am presently working on a collection of short, sharp stories with a working title of ‘The Common Madnesses We Share’. Watch out for me on other media, too.


10. Your advice to #Endthestory team. How can they improve on the competition?

The idea was very brilliant; the only problem I had was with the voting thing and how it inadvertently ‘threw the baby out with the bathwater’—there was quite a number of strong entries that should have been subjected to the scrutiny of judges instead of being left to the mercy of voters (which some of them couldn’t get). And next time, if you’re going to use the voting method, please leave the ‘No’ button out—the world is full of haters and voyeurs that carry sand about in their pockets looking for garri to spoil…

And I want to say a big thanks for the opportunity.

3 responses to “MEET OUR WINNER: Olubunmi Familoni speaks on winning the #Endthestory Competition

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