Ife Olujuyigbe’s name may not sound new to a lot of people who might have heard about her before now, especially those who have read her works on EGC blog before. But nowadays, it sounds with more reverberations after she won the recently concluded Flash Fiction contest. She was an unlikely winner who beat many favourites to clinch the trophy; hence the reason why we call her ‘The Slayer of Dragons’.
EGC’s Olamiposi Omoyele was able to catch up with her recently and made her share about herself, her writings, and other writers. Enjoy the interview:
Please introduce yourself?
I’m Ife Olujuyigbe; writer, creative thinker, unrepentant insomniac, Chemical Engineer, music buff, Yoruba girl...
What can you pin as the genesis of your writing career?
I’d say writing found me. I remember writing songs and poems at eight. I remember thinking in short stories too; I have write-ups from way back in the nineties. And then it continued to evolve with every new phase.
With your accomplishments in writing, what do you regard as your challenges and how have you been able to overcome them?
So far, I think the major challenge would have to be the disappearance of the muse. There are days when I just don’t have anything to write. I stare at my blank screen for hours, and resort to seeing a movie or listening to music or reading a book or biting my nails or humming a tuneless jam or something like that. There are tons of stories I have started and never completed. And then there are those other days when ideas won’t let me sleep at night. I write and write and can barely bat my eyelids. So, truth be told, some days I’m in my element, some days I’m not. And on the days when I’m not, I observe my environment for things I’d eventually write about when I’m back in. Most importantly, I pray.
What inspires your writing?
Everything. Boredom, excitement, fatigue, people, places, things…experiences…God…life… Everything is a potential write-up. I speak to them and they speak right back to me. Everyone is happy. =D
In what ways have you been able to evolve as a writer?
I believe anything can be better with practice. That’s the most important way, really. You are not a writer unless you write. Yes, I might read, observe, talk about writing, plan to write. But most importantly, the only trusted way to get better is to write. Works for me.
Who is/are your role model(s)?
Role models…hmm… I admire a wide range of writers, from Nigerian to African to international, but most importantly, I’d rather get better at being myself on paper. I try to be as true to myself as can be with my writing. My role model is the better me.
Tell us about the most memorable book you have read.
Ahh…this is hard. My most memorable book would have to shuttle between ‘The third twin’ by Ken Follet and ‘Nothing lasts forever’ by Sidney Sheldon. I read these books as a teenager and I still haven’t recovered from them. And naturally, I have gone on to become one of their biggest fans.
Tell us what your ambitions are as regard your writing career?
The plan is to keep writing. The plan is to write till the world reads my writings and knows my name. The plan is to inspire and become an inspiration to others to become the best they can be; writers, leaders, teachers, plumbers… basically everyone out there who has a dream.
Are there people you look up to in Nigerian writing circles? Who are they?
In Nigeria, yes. I admire Pemi Aguda. I have read virtually everything she has posted online. Chika Unigwe, Chimamanda Adichie, Igoni Barret; they’re too many to mention.
How can we access the rest of your works?
Hehe… Google. I also own a blog: ifekleva.wordpress.com (ifekleva.com is in the works). I have written for a number of online platforms too, so Google would easily help fish them out.
You won the Flash Fiction contest recently, beating so many favourites, how does this make you feel?
I was ecstatic! I still am. Winning is like a cold drink on a hot day. It’s refreshing, and I’m grateful.
Some people call you Klevadiva, why that name Or is it just because you are Clever?
Hehe… ask them o. I got the nickname in school, and it just stuck. I recently modified it to ifekleva though. I think I like it better.
What else should we be expecting from you this year?
A lot, by God’s grace. But we’d all have to keep our fingers crossed now, won’t we? *grins*
...Are you a Poet? Have you entered for BB Slam II? Entry closes 27th March 2016...