Four Nigerian authors: ‘Where we create’

On a garden seat, in a study, or in a cave, writers feel differently about work spaces and its relevance. Sam Ukala, author of the play, Iredi War; Chioma Nnani, the novel Forever There for You; Richard Ali, City of Memories, and Abubakar Adam Ibrahim, Season of Crimson Blossoms, take us into their world…

Richard Ali
Being a nomadic writer, my writing space tends to be adaptable-depends on where I am at each time. The writing is inevitable though and one must make the best of the space available. My favourite writing space was a house I lived in at Dadin Kowa, Jos, Plateau State. I stayed upstairs at the corner room of a duplex and the sun always came through the large windows. I prefer to write in the mornings, so you can imagine being up while it’s still dark and looking up to see the sun slowly rising, and hearing the stirrings of the house coming to life. I wrote my novel, City of Memories, there. Writing is a solitary business, but the punctuations are important. Looking up to see a bird flying past, hearing a sound of this or that, while writing, is what provides the key punctuations in the mood of a fiction and I think the reader feels this when they read. These days, it’s harder to write and I think it’s related to this loss of space. My ideal writing space is one where you can interact with nature without it encroaching and one where the mornings are cool.

Chioma Nnani
I don’t have a particular spot where I like to write, as long as I can set up my laptop and get in the zone, I’m working. Although some say it helps with creativity, I think some people can get too precious about workspaces. What happens if you have a deadline and you’re not able to get to your ‘perfect workspace’?

Abubakar Adam Ibrahim
Sometimes I dream of writing in a cottage, away from the distractions of daily living. Sometimes I dream of writing in a studio, a sacred space dedicated to my art, to creativity. It is the dream most writers have, I guess.
But I do not suffer the infirmities of the peculiar rituals some writers are afflicted with. I write when and where the muse comes to me. For me, writing is a fluid art, it flows and moulds itself around the circumstances in which I found myself.
I tried to create a space for writing, a dedicated airy room with a table and a chair in the middle, with walls lined with book-laden shelves and wide windows through which sunlight would pour in. I still nurse this dream. But I have had to sacrifice this vanity project because the little flat I live in always has guests or family members staying.
So now I write anywhere. In the living room. In the bedroom. And I read in even wackier spaces. I try not to let space and time define my craft. I am the master of my art. Well, most of the time anyway.

Sam Ukala
You may be disappointed to know that I do not write on top of a hill or in a cave or in a cemetery or an attic with my feet in a bowl of cold water. I write in my study. It’s a serene forest of books and awards of different kinds.



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