No one can be taught to write - you can only do that for yourself, but it can be very important for someone who isn't sure how to progress to receive the guidance in an atmosphere where writing and ideas are encouraged.
Segun AfolabiEarly Life Segun Afolabi was born in Kaduna, Nigeria (1966), to career diplomat, James Afolabi. When he was one, his family moved to the Congo, then back to Lagos, then to Canada, then back to Nigeria, where he went to school in Plateau State for a year. His family later moved back to Lagos, where he attended Corona School till they left the country again, when he was 8. Age 9, Segun was sent to school in England. He studied at Brighton College, and then went to university in Wales, at University College, Cardiff, where he read Economics and Management Studies. Segun Afolabi won the 2005 Caine Prize for his short story “Monday Morning” (published in “Wasafiri”, Issue 41, 2004). His debut story collection – “A Life Elsewhere”, was published in July 2006 and it was shortlisted for the 2006 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and his debut novel - Goodbye Lucille, which was published in April 2007, won the Authors' Club First Novel Award. His stories have been published in various literary journals including Granta, the London Magazine, Wasafiri and the Edinburgh Review.
DID YOU KNOW THAT… 1. Segun was the only author shortlisted for the 2005 Caine Prize for African Writing who hadn’t published a book. 2. Segun didn't know who had entered his story, Monday Morning (2005), into the Caine Prize competition; and only discovered a few days before the award ceremony that it was the editor of Wasafiri, the literary journal where Monday Morning was first published. 3. After winning the £10,000 Caine Prize, Segun decided to take a year off his job at the BBC to write. 4. Segun started writing creatively in his mid-twenties, after he embarked on an evening class called ‘Ways into Writing at London’s City Lit’, for complete beginners, where he was taught by poet and novelist Alison Fell. 5. He always writes in the mornings before work, from 6 – 8am, and sometimes on Saturday. 6. Other than Nigeria, Congo and Canada, Segun (while growing up) has lived in Indonesia, the United Kingdom and East Germany. 7. His first published short story is “Jumbo and Jacinta” (published in London Magazine), while he worked in a London bookshop. 8. Monday Morning was influenced by news reports of atrocities in various parts of Africa. 9. Segun wanted to be a pilot when he was younger, then an architect, though he was terrible at maths and drawing. 10. His debut story collection – “A Life Elsewhere” which comprised 17 stories was long-listed for the 2006 Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. Segun Afolabi has worked for the BBC as a sub editor on “The Radio Times”, and as an assistant content producer for BBC digital radio. He works as a full time editor and lives in London. By Olusola Agbaje