Hey, all! How was your weekend? A big thank you to all who made it to Newscafe for the Farafina Literary Week. I am sure you all had a blast! For those who missed out, well, watch out for the next event!
We recently launched a series of author interviews. As such, every month, we would focus on one author and his work(s). For the month of October, we would like to focus on June 12 by Abraham Oshoko. We conducted an interview with him and we have posted it below. Enjoy!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Abraham Oshoko. I’m a writer, an illustrator and a graphic
designer with a particular interest in the epic and contemporary
periods of African history.
Is writing something you always planned to do or it just happened?
Writing is something I’d always wanted to do. Right from when I was
very young, I’ve been inspired to write and draw many stories,
especially African based war stories.
June 12 tells the story of what is adjudged to be the freest and
fairest election held in Nigerian history and the aftermaths. What
prompted you to write about it? Also, why did you choose to use
cartoon characters as the medium of expression?
As I said earlier, I’m an ardent student of history, and to an extent,
I have a fascination for African history. June 12 is a historical
event, perhaps one that questioned the very foundations of our polity.
You see, since there are many sides and so many conflicting reports
and views, I wanted to do a relevant, well researched and non-biased
retelling of the actual story so that every Nigerian can know what
I chose cartooning as the medium of expression because I’m a
combination of a writer and an illustrator. I wanted to do something
different. I don’t just write stories; I can draw the same stories. So
in expressing myself vividly, I decided to combine both gifts.
Do you see yourself writing art for art’s sake in the nearest future
i.e. writing without reflecting Nigeria or Africa’s socio-political
I don’t see myself writing for just the sake of art. There are several
stories I want to do after the June 12 series [I said series because
there are still other volumes]. I expect that my stories will
definitely reflect on African and not just Nigeria’s socio-political
realities. Some of the stories I would later publish are: Exercise
Damissa: The true story of Nigeria’s first coup, Anini: the Tale of a
robber and The First Republic: The end of a sad Beginning.
What is your writing routine, when best do you write?
Well, I can’t really give you the specifics since I do a lot of
research, writing, drawing [pencilling and inking], digital painting
and graphic design. I see them all as aspects of the same project. You
know, when you are talented, you will need to develop a way so that
you can work at your peak. I guess that must be what has happened to
me [presently, I mean].
Reading the book, one sees that a lot of research must have gone into
its production. How long did it take to write the book?
About two years. I had to rewrite and redraw after I finished the
first artwork as my editor felt it was too porous and it wasn’t
What are your future plans – any book in the works?
Yes. Presently I’m on the volume two (June 12: The rise of Sani
Abacha). From henceforth all my books will be in full colour. I’ve
attached three random pages and a chapter cover so that you can have a
sneak preview of what is coming next.
What do you to say to upcoming writers?
Keep at it. There’s no other way to know how to write if you don’t
write. A word of advice: get the books of an author that you respect.
Don’t just read but study his or her style. Then use their styles to
develop a style of your own!