(Oyindamola Affinih is the author of “Two gone , still counting.” Below is an excerpt of her interview with Next magazine where she shares her thoughts on the romance genre in Nigeria. Full Interview can be read HERE )
What are women bringing into the Nigerian literary scene? “Without being biased, I think women are deeper. What I notice recently is that most writers, male or female, have a story to tell and somehow I think the female writers have gotten fiercer and want to find all possible ways to come out and say what’s on their mind. Women are very communicative and want to talk amongst themselves and say what’s on their mind. That push is there!”
Are they then invariably speaking for other women as well? “Yes,” Affinnih answers. “Because most people work within their environment. In the different genres, those who say write children’s books are speaking for someone else. Now we have lots of romance writers, but unfortunately besides magazines, Nigerians don’t have avenues for romance writing because people think it is a foreign thing! Majority of those that write romance are female.”
Tongue-in-cheek I ask Affinnih if Nigerian women are romantic. “Of course,” she replies emphatically, adding, “It might not be the roses and flowers type. At best, everybody deserves some kind of care, attention and romance!”
Are young female writers prudish about sex, I prod her. “It depends on what you are writing about. If you write a romance book there is no way sex won’t come in. I’ve read some who dwell on the details. A publishing house in Nigeria is looking for romance writers and they want the language and terms used decently written.”
She believes there is no competition between male and female writers. “Abroad, they might pay more attention to male writers which explains why female writers there use pseudonyms or just their initials. Luckily in Nigeria we have so many unisex names,” she says. “We need more avenues to publish and representation,” she adds.
Writers don’t have to be stuck in a particular genre, Affinnih says. “We should explore different genres and flavours. Right now, I’m doing a romance and crime fiction. What is most exciting right now is collaboration and I’m working with a friend on one,” she concludes.