Interview with author, Bolaji Olatunde. Read our review of his book, Hang No Clothes Here here.
LE: Hello Bolaji, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Bolaji: My parents are from Iseyin, Oyo State. I was born and bred in Benin, Edo State. I didn’t get to live outside that ancient city until I moved to the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, for my university education. I finished writing my first novel Straw Dogs as an undergraduate. It got a few hundred rejections from literary agents and publishers but I had it self-published in 2011, years after I’d graduated with a degree in accounting.
LE: A few hundred rejections? Wow. What do you do for a living? Is writing your full time job?
Bolaji: I am an accountant by day. Writing is more or less a moonlighting gig, for now. I moved to Abuja in September 2010. I’ve lived in Abuja ever since. Hang No Clothes Here was my attempt to document my impressions of Abuja, as well as provide a kaleidoscopic view of the city in that time frame because 2011, in which the novel is set, had several epoch-making moments, both personally and for Nigeria. I chose to do it through the eyes of arguably the most ubiquitous professionals in the city, the police.
LE: When did you start writing and what prompted it?
Bolaji: I’ve always wanted to tell stories for as long as I can remember. I’ve always loved conjuring tales, having been enchanted by tales as a child. I recall completing my first play at seventeen, in the 1990s. It was a radio play for the BBC Africa playwriting competition. I so badly wanted that 1,000 pound prize money they offered then. I had big dreams of expanding my very little business with that cash. I never got the opportunity to submit it at the time. I believe the deadline lapsed while I was still saving cash to have it properly typed and sent off to Bush House, the then HQ of the BBC. Fortunately for the human race, the handwritten manuscript has since been lost. Another play of mine, A Requiem For Daniel Fregebo, received commendation from the judges of the BBC International Playwriting Competition in 2009, although it didn’t win.
LE: That’s not surprising. We loved your play, Sacking the Potter. What next after Hang No Clothes Here?
Bolaji: On the creative side of publishing, I’ve been working on two projects simultaneously. A nonfiction biography of a very fascinating character. I also have another fictional novel in the works. On the business side of publishing, my siblings and I have a small entertainment start-up company, LaTunes Media which will produce music, movies, and books…things like that. Our publishing arm, LaTunes Publishers, handled part of the publishing of Hang No Clothes Here. A lot of my energy will be devoted to growing LaTunes Publishers and helping it to push out outstanding books to the reading public, over the next year or two.
LE: Good to know and all the best with your writing and business projects. Lastly, what are your hobbies?
Bolaji: Music. Movies. Books. Tennis. Exchanging hot gist and gossip. (For the sake of world peace, you’d better stay far away from me if you don’t have stories to tell).
Bolaji has 3 published books:
Sacking the Potter
Hang No Clothes Here which has 2 covers
Bolaji is on Twitter and Facebook.
Categories: Authors and Books