NA: If your were asked to identify a recurring theme in your body of work so far, what would it be?
TAG: My passion for the well-being of humankind
NA: What is your favourite, never-travel-without book of poetry?
TAG: I do not have one. I travel with whatever l wish to read at that moment.
NA: More on that subject, would you say that the reading culture is definitely declining in Nigeria? If it is, what are the factors forcing this decline and are you able to propose any remedies?
TAG: From where l sit, l think the reading culture is in decline, though some may argue otherwise. Some of the problems are basic; culture establishments do not implement policies in place. Practitioners in the culture sector like to wade in excuses, true, the government does nothing for culture but no culture has ever developed with government effort alone. There is a despair in the sector. It's important to galvanise our energies again and see how civil society groups in the culture sector can collaborate with the private sector. We need to create events and learn to market the arts including the reading culture.
NA: Let's talk about the future. What do you reckon will be the state of African literature in the next ten years, particularly in terms of shifts in subjects, language, character and attitude. Tell me too, if you think there are unseen obstacles just waiting to come to the fore, and where promises exist, please celebrate them.
TAG: I think we shall see an emergence of major women writers. There will be an increase in experimentation and debates about the criteria to qualify African Literature. A lot of our promising writers are living outside the continent, they claim the world as their constituency. These will have implication for the 'Africanness' of our literature. A major danger is the looming extinction of literature in indigenous African languages. How can literature salvage our mothertongues?
© 2003 Nnorom Azuonye. All rights reserved.
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