5 Jun 2014

Interview: Meet a Muser

Hello there, this is an interview with one of the Musers just before their inaugural book meet which held on Saturday, May 24th 2014 at Patabah Bookstore, Surulere, Lagos.

Hi, I’m Ezim Osai from 9JEducation, what’s your name?
Olanrewaju Ekemode for the Musers.

Cool. Please tell me about yourself; school, friends, background.
School: University of Lagos. Friends, very few; Background: Nigerian, Yoruba, Christian.

So, how did your love affair with books begin?
When I was little, my parents, especially my dad was into academics and my mom is a lawyer and she reads a lot and so I’ve been around books for a very long time. And I’m a bit anti-social so that’s just the only thing I can do.

Okay. Who’s your favourite author?
I don’t have a favourite but I like African writers.

Is there any that you can recommend for me to read personally?
Yes, Buchi Emecheta.

Alright, thanks. Tell me, are you just a reader or a reader and a writer as well?
I’m a reader and a writer.

So, what do you write?
I write anything!

At 9JEdu, we love books and writers and we were pleasantly surprised when we heard about The Musers. Can you please tell us how it works?
Okay. We’re a body of young people, book lovers, and some of us are just interested in the idea. And also, we write reviews and we have book meets like we’re having now, this is our first one. And then, we do this stuff where we compare books to movies like we did with Harry Potter sometime in the past on our blog.

How did the club begin?
I don’t know ‘Sewa met everybody; ‘Sewa is our administrator. She just walked up to me when I was with my friends and she was like ‘Hello, are you so, so and so?’ and I was like ‘yes’ and then she told me about it and I was like ‘Okay, I’m interested’ and then we had a meeting where we all met each other, that was about a year ago.

If I wanted to join The Musers, how would I go about it? What are the criteria?
Just come to a book meet. And then you have to be ready to write reviews because we have deadlines. Maybe you’ll have to update the blog regularly. We also have sections; personally I write African Literature but somebody else can do that also.

What’s your criterion for choosing books and what’s the most controversial book you’ve reviewed so far?
Criteria? Any book. If you see any book, pick it up and read. Controversial, I think it was There Was a Country by Chinua Achebe but then, people didn’t comment much. I guess people just read but don’t put down their comments. That was the one I reviewed and that was something that was very controversial.

Any plans to grow the book club into something more formal with a standing structure?
Yeah. I think ‘Sewa should be able to shed more light on that because she’s the administrator.

The Musers has an active social media presence, what’s the interaction like?
It has been okay. But because of the [book] meet, we have been seeing people responding. Like we did not expect the reservations, but I mean, I didn’t know there were so many people interested in stuff like this. When ‘Sewa brought up the idea of a book meet, I thought people wouldn’t come but the way she talked about it was convincing so I was like ‘okay’.

Do you think The Musers does better as a digital book club or do you think it would be better if it had people on ground?
I believe it’s better if it’s digital cos there was this time we got a mail from someone in Brazil, I think, who wanted to join us and he said he would be writing reviews about Latin American literature, so I think it’s better if we do it like a digital stuff.

Nice. Let’s turn to your latest project, the inaugural Musers book meet. Please tell us about it.
The theme is Darkskin Problem. It’s a book meet about Colourism, and we’re reading from a couple of books. Chimamanda’s Americanah, Lola Soneyin’s Baba Segi’s Wives, Kaine Agary’s Yellow Yellow, Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen. We’re looking into all those books and we’re picking out excerpts that involve colourism and we’ll be discussing it. We have like six panellists discussing it and then the audience also will be involved.

Okay. So what influenced the choice of the topic?
It was just a very random thing. We were going to discuss feminism but someone said that it’s [feminism] is over-flogged. And then on Twitter, we used to see this lightskin theme and it’s popular like so many people talk about it and then we just decided to talk about it.

Very good; where do you see The Musers five years from now?
I see us having more book meets, a more organized structure in terms of our members and also in terms of funding and I believe things will be better.

Nice; on a concluding note, if you had to choose between the two, would you go for e-book or paperback?
Paperback…e-books just don’t feel like I’m reading a book. Like I don’t get that joy I derive from flipping through the pages and like when I want to mark… even though there are some e-book readers that can mark but it’s just not the same thing.

Once again, I’m Ezim Osai, it has been pleasant talking to you, Thank you.

Lanre Ekemode is on Twitter @no_Deemples , The Musers are on @TheMusers
Read a review of The Musers’ book meet here and read about the book club itself here.
That’s it from us at 9JEducation,

Ezim Osai
26. May. 2014

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