You see — as soon as I saw you approaching the house carrying all your load on your back like a tortoise, I knew that you had disgraced us in your husband’s house. Did I not train you to be an acceptable wife? The fire under plantains should not be too high, as it will turn black like charcoal. This is how to cook Moi Moi. This is how to put the pureed black-eyed peas into leaves and fold them into a pot so the steam can cook them into fluffy cakes.
On Dec 15th my first book was published. The dream I have had since I was about four years old came to pass.
I grew up reading those quaint Peter and Jane Ladybird books – where I looked for a child who looked like me in vain.
I hold up this book and I thank God for bringing me this far, for friends and family, for love and for those who believed in me when it was just a dream.
I present Love’s Persuasion. Elements of Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’ remind me of the characters here – of love lost and second chances. It is never too late to love, to love again, to take a chance, to write a book, go back to school or chase after that dream. Friends please don’t wait till its too late to go after your dream, your passion and that thing you know you were called to do.
I created Tony Okoli because he reminded me of the kind of guy that we fall in love with. We want the world and he is just a normal regular guy with his faults.
I created Ada because she reminded me of the kind of woman that we need to be. Strong, determined but not so tough that she has forgotten what it is like to be a woman – to love, to forgive and to learn to live again.
Thanks everyone who has supported me on this page and for your patience in this journey of discovery and manifestation. Love’s Persuasion by Ola Awonubi on www.ankarapress.com. Please get your copy.
The wait is over! This is my cover reveal for my book Love’s Persuasion out on December 15th.
My book Loves Persuasion is set in cosmopolitan Lagos.
Ada Okafor is an ambitious young secretary who works for a Financial House in Lagos by day and studies for a degree in Business Administration in the evenings. One Christmas her whole life changes when she bumps into the new Assistant Director – Tony Okoli – the son of the Managing Director who has come to assist his ailing father with turning round the fortunes of the company – Citi Finance – a once thriving business house.
Ada and Tony begin a tentative friendship when he gives her a ride home and discover a mutual love of literature and a mutual attraction which both try hard to fight. Ada because she doesn’t want to be seen as a gold digger and Tony because he is already engaged to child hood sweet heart and family friend Gloria Onwuka and he has plans for his life that do not really have anything to do with what his family wants for him.
He is trying to make sense of his own life. She is trying to make a life for herself.
Neither of them have got a clue about what destiny has in store….
“Dedicated to showcasing the best of established and emerging talented African writers in the UK”
Accomplish Press in conjunction with Femy and Remy Ltd and Nigerian Writers, presents an evening of reading, conversation and inspiration with the best of new generation African Writers. The event will be a mixture of literature, poetry and spoken word performances, as well as a panel to discuss issues relevant to writers in the UK.
See link below to get tickets and more details
The road to home seemed longer, the red sand and mud heavy on her feet and the sun pierced her skin as she walked.
She tried to keep to the shade of the trees as she made her way up the hill, being careful not to scruff her shoes against the stones and the pebbles. The houses were simple, most made from mud with corrugated iron sheets. Yet every time she came there were changes – a son or daughter that had done well in the city would come home and build a house – a duplex two storey building and it would stand out amongst the other decaying houses like a new wife in the Eze’s compound.
One day she and her brother would build a nice house with a proper toilet and bathroom for their father.
She sighed. She was the Ada – the first and only daughter and her husband would be expected to play a big part in renovating her father’s estate but something in her rejected the idea of any man spending money on her family – it would be like them paying for her as if she was some kind of object. It was her culture and it was expected but she knew of many women who stayed in marriages because of the bride price and the other gifts that their husband’s family had paid during the marriage ceremonies.
She thought of her father. A man his age should not be squatting over that monstrosity called a pit latrine. It was not sanitary and it was an absolute eyesore. It was the one thing she hated about visiting home.
Now Ndeh was a small village with a primary school and Secondary school children had to catch a bus to the next bigger village – to go to school. It had a church for weddings and funerals and a small community hall to host the events around those weddings and funerals.
Her mother had told her that a hundred years ago before the white man had come and turned everything upside down that it used to be busy market town. She spoke of how her mother; the grandmother she never knew had a stall there where she sold vegetables – bright green okra and bitter leaf spinach, bananas and oranges, plantain and yams.
Her grandmother said that Ndeh was so big that its population could not consist of just living people and was firmly convinced that departed souls from other hamlets and towns came to do business in Nde on market days.
The family home was at a intersection between the school and the church and she remembered growing up and how it used to irritate her that the proximity of her home to the church meant that she could not avoid attending morning and evening services, like her other classmates.
She turned the corner into the street and saw the familiar faces smiling at her.
It was one of her father’s neighbours sitting on a little stool, head bent forward as she tackled the washing.
“Welcome my daughter. Ote kwana. Long time no see. How is Lagos?”
“Good evening Nne.”
“Kedu. How are you? “
“Odinma. I am fine. Nne.”
She walked into her house, opened the door and was hit by the weight of heat. Little beads of water ran down the walls of the front room and the mildew forming dark spots on the carpet. She felt the clothes sticking to her skin, and her mouth just wanted water, despite the rickety ceiling fan whirling above her head.
The door opened and her father walked in slowly. He was much thinner, his hair totally white but his eyes lit up when they saw her.
“Welcome. Adanna you have arrived.”
“You look so much like your mother nowadays you know.” He sighed as he lowered himself into a chair.
Ada went into the kitchen and observed the blackened walls. There was a pot of freshly cooked stew on the kerosene stove. Her aunt must have been here recently. She helped Papa with the cooking.
“Papa can I get you some water?”
“Don’t worry. Just sort yourself out. There is a fresh soup that your big mother prepared. You can make some garri and eat.”
She walked back into the sitting room.
“How is Lagos? How is work? How has life been treating you lately?”
She talked about work, her eyes wandering over the broken worn chairs and the threadbare carpet. When she was a little girl, the carpet had been bright royal blue with brown flowers to match the chocolate brown sofa. Now the sofa looked more black than brown and carpet had had turned to a neat coffee shade. The corner held a cabinet with some forlorn pieces of her mother’s plate set and family pictures.
“Papa …I have some news …….”
Her father leant forward and clasped his hands.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t afraid of the word Nigeria. It was my tormentor, my nemesis and my destiny. Even the word was heavy so heavy that you had to split it into 4 to say it properly – Ni – ger – ri- yah
Destiny was another big word. Ever since Father told me that Des-ti- ny was waiting for me in Nigeria and one day we would all go back the thought lingered in my head like an unwelcome guest but in the eternal optimism of youth I convinced myself that that day would never actually come.
Images of deep dark jungles infested with tigers and lions had embedded themselves into my imagination due to watching Tarzan and Daktari on a regular practice. It told me all I knew about Africa – the place was chaotic; full of bumbling Africans who communicated in grunts and shrugs, fought against each and seemed incapable of any original thought or action unless Tarzan guided them, helped them or saved them from their predicament with his superior problem solving capabilities.
My father walked in and saw me crying. He smiled and came over to rest a hand on my shoulder as mother flung up her hands and said something in their language.
“Don’t worry Lola…..I can understand it’s all strange to you now but you will love it when you get there. Fresh food, lovely weather. He closed his eyes, “A place where people respect their elders and you are part of a family not just some body that fell out of the sky.”
I swallowed and blinked. “I don’t want to go.”
“Nonsense – you have been here for too long. I’ve always told you that this isn’t your country.”
Amanda’s eyes met mine and I bit back my reply.
I lived with the Alison’s – Amanda and Keith and their two kids – Peter and Kate and a big lazy dog called Mutley. Home was a three bed roomed semi in Portsmouth because my parents were studying and working down in London.
Growing up I never questioned why the woman who came to pick me up at school was white and the folk with the heavy voices who came down from London to see me every fortnight were Black. I just accepted it like the sky being blue or like the fact that no matter how far you walked the moon in the sky never seemed to get any nearer…
A kid at school asked me how I came to have a white mum. I told her I had two mums.
“How’s that then?” she asked blue eyes swamping her whole face.
Cause that’s just how it is. I shrugged. Just like the blue sky and the moon.