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Vitabu Interviews | Yema Lucilda Hunter

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Yema Lucilda Hunter is Sierra Leone’s first female novelist. Her novels include Road to Freedom, Bittersweet and Redemption Song. She was invited to write an article on the Sierra Leonean-Ghanaian literary figure, Gladys Casely-Hayford, for the Dictionary of African Biography (Oxford University Press) after publishing her biography An African Treasure, in Search of Gladys Casely-Hayford, 1904-1950

Vitabu: When did you discover books?

Yema Lucilda Hunter: I learned to love reading soon after I learned to read because I lived with my maternal grandmother who took me to the British Council library where there was a children's section. In those days there were no books for children written by African authors. In fact, the only stories about Africa that I remember reading as a child were in a series called Jungle Doctor,. They were written by an English doctor and set in East Africa.

Vitabu: Tell us about some of your favorite books written by African authors.

Yema Lucilda Hunter: I m…

Farouk Sesay, Chinua Achebe | Linguistic Freedom, Linguistic Wealth and Legacy

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Thursday, March 21 was UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) World Poetry Day. In keeping with the message from the director-general of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, I recited home-grown poems that I'd found to be the “purest expressions of lingusitic freedom.”

The verses hold a special significance for me because they were penned at a time of great dread. "[P]roduced by a group of Sierra Leonean writers who met regularly throughout the war,” wrote Penny Boreham in “Sierra Leone's poems of war”  for BBC African Performance Freetown (May 2007).


The landscape of Sierra Leone's decade-old civil war [1991-2002] seems to drape most of the poems by Oumar Farouk Sesay, observed one reviewer. Sesay, one of the poets Boreham spoke to, has been published in many anthologies of Sierra Leonean poets, including Songs That Pour the Heart and Kalashnikov In The Sun. He told Boreham: “[E]very individual in Sierra Leone was confronted with his or her own m…

Vitabu Interviews Deji Olukotun | Nigerians in Space

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Vitabu had a telephone interview scheduled with Deji Olukotun on International Women's Day but the flu got in our way. As luck would have it, we are publishing the writer's answers to questions we sent him by e-mail on Vitabu's third anniversary, reason enough to name his newly released e-book, Nigerians in Space, as our best choice for World Book Day. Olukotun is a lawyer and and writer with global development and advocacy experience.

Deji Olukotun’s debut novel, Nigerians in Space, defies categorization—a story of international intrigue that tackles deeper questions about exile, identity, and the need to answer an elusive question: what exactly is brain gain? --Ricochet
Vitabu: What inspired you to write "Nigerians in Space"?

Deji Olukotun: I'm Nigerian-American, so I have always been interested in Nigerian history and culture—but also the country's future. I traveled to Nigeria at the beginning of the tech boom, and I heard the phrase "Brain Gain&q…