An interview with Abidemi Sanusi

Abidemi Sanusi’s interests are quite easy to follow on social media. She comes across as well read and the sort of person you want to converse with at length over coffee. She wears many hats. She is an author, businesswoman, an amateur photographer and budding documentary filmmaker. Her Book ‘Eyo’ was shortlisted in 2010 for the Commonwealth’s Writers’ Prize. In this interview, Abidemi talks to Tundun Adeyemo about her life, work and her book.

Abidemi Sanusi

How do your friends describe you and is this an assessment you would agree with?

They think I’m a workaholic. Which is not strictly true. I run my own business, www.thereadywriter.co.uk, a content writing and training agency, so I can’t really switch off.

When you have a 9-5, you can clock off at 5, come home and not think about work. As a business owner, that is not even an option for me. It’s not that I don’t want to - I just haven’t got that option.

At any point in time, you’re dealing with so many things, and on so many levels, and even if you employ people, there are some things that only you can deal with, and make decisions on. And that’s the honest truth.

So, am I a workaholic? No, I run a business and like I’ve said, it is what it is.

What three books are on your Kindle or bedroom table waiting to be read?

I’ve got two manuscripts by two friends that I promised to read - which I NEVER do. So, it tells you how special these people are, that I’m actually reviewing their work.

Bedroom table: ‘And the Mountain Echoed’ by Khaled Hosseini and ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, by John Green.

Kindle: That’s a bit tricky. I’m currently in the midst of reading four (or is it five?) books. It’s the Kindle - it makes it so easy.

One is ‘How to win friends and influence people’

I’ve got two Charlotte Mendelson books: ‘Daughters of Jerusalem’ and ‘Almost English’.

Then, I’ve got some random ones that I picked up, whilst ambling aimlessly on Amazon.

You were shortlisted for the Common wealth Writers’ Prize. Do you look back at this as the greatest moment in life or one of the greatest moments of your life?

Actually, when I was shortlisted, it didn’t sink in. I was quite nonchalant about it, even though everyone kept on telling me what a big deal it was.

I realised how much I wanted to win, when I didn’t win. I think I cried non-stop for three days.

In terms of moments, I think it was one of many moments, but definitely not one of the greatest moments in my life.

Not that I didn’t appreciate being nominated, but it was a nice moment. But, not a great one.

Now, if I was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize….

What book are you reading now?

I dip in and out of the books I mentioned earlier.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

I run Ready Writer, www.thereadywriter.co.uk, a content writing and training company. We create great content for companies that increases their online visibility and drive traction (visitor traffic, conversions, brand loyalty and more) to their brand.

We do by providing web content, blogging services, content strategies, content marketing opportunities and more.

We also provide editorial services (writing, editing, annual reports, company magazine, speechwriting, newsletter management… whatever editorial needs the company has, really).

We also provide tailored, content-writing and editorial training for companies.

In my personal life, or what I like to call my ‘other’ life, I do photography, writing (which, every one knows about), food (I specialise in wheat and dairy free food, which is heavily influenced by north African/Middle Eastern culture, but with distinctive West African slant). Then, of course, there’s the film. I’m a budding documentary filmmaker and foreign-language film obsessive.

These are the four things I’m passionate about, which is why my website, www.abidemi.co.uk is based around these themes.

And did I mention www.readywritermag.com, a website I established for Christians who write? (Smiles).

As you can gather, I’m not good at doing one thing, because I get bored so easily. Which is why I tend to work on different projects at the same time.

How do you juggle the different things you do together: Ready Writer, (budding) documentary filmmaker, life as an author and photography?

I make use of my time - I have to. Plus, I love what I do too much to stop.

Does your life exhaust you sometimes?

Yes, because my physical body is constantly running to catch up with my imagination and ambition. And no, because in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a bad life. There are people and children who have it much worse than me.

What technology do you use for writing?

My Mac (Pages or Word for Mac) and my imagination! Some author friends use writing applications like Scrivener, but I can’t be bothered with all that.

The Mac keeps it simple.

Describe your writing style in ten words or less.

Authentic.

When you hear from your readers, what do they say?

I get the most response for ‘God has Daughters Too’, which is a personalised account of Old Testament women, and ‘Eyo’ – definitely, ‘Eyo’.

The book compels people to act against human trafficking, which was what I wanted.

How do you use social media to promote your writing?

To be honest, not so much. Because, I know how much I hate it when people sell at me, ALL the time.

I think mine is more of a conversation. Where possible, I direct people to my website. People go there and get to know me through my writing, photography and food stuff that I put up.

They form their opinions about me and then, buy my books from there.

On the other hand, I’ve been very fortunate to have really quite good reviews for my books, so that definitely helps with the sales.

How is this world a better place because of your books?

I think my book encourage people to look outward and think beyond the present.

I started off in Christian publishing and for a while, my books were faith-themed.

I decided I wanted to write more general audience books, so wrote ‘Eyo’, which was essentially to raise awareness about child sex slavery and human trafficking, and was then nominated for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

Through these books, I believe I’ve connected people to the Creator and also encouraged them to participate in world issues, and just care a bit more.

For more on: Abidemi Sanusi

Tundun Adeyemo

Choosing Wisely

Choosing Wisely

This song encouraging Nigerians to “ChooseWisely” in the upcoming elections was sung by sisters, Dinachi and Chibundu Onuzo.

“Making a difference begins with you and me and with our leaders, officials and every Nigerian citizen.”

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Responsible: a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

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Responsible

A poem by Benjamin Zephaniah
Responsible: a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

Benjamin Zephaniah is one of my favourite poets. You only need to listen to him to know why he is one of the greatest black poets that ever lived.

Responsible: a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

African Literary Evening

The African Literary Evening was an evening of spoken word, poetry recitations, book readings and networking. It was also an evening designed to bring together emerging and successful authors under the same platform to share ideas and interact. There are many events across London that bring men and women in print together, but not many that gather African authors. Read more!

Responsible: a poem by Benjamin Zephaniah

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