A few months ago, we held a challenge which had over 300 writers send in their entry. It was a poetry competition which required the writers in our community to write a poem of not more than 15 lines on the topic “Dead Lions Don’t Roar” based on the book by Tolu Akinyemi. This young man stood out among the participants and emerged as the 0verall challenge winner with his gripping poem that took us all on an inspiring journey.
See the winning poem below:
Here’s our interview with him:
The African Writers: Give us a fun fact about you.
Derrick:  I am scared of female attachment or weave. Feels like cobwebs whenever I touch them.
The African Writers: Really? Lol. What’s a typical day in your life like?
Derrick:  Presently, the alarm wakes me up. Check my phone. Pray. Brush teeth. Have my bath with Enya or Lana Del Rey playing in the background. Leave home by 4:30 am, get to the island by 5:30 am. Work starts at 8 am. Work till 5 pm still pressing my phone. Get home by 7 pm or worse (as Lagos traffic dictates). Press my phone till 12 am. Pray. Continue pressing my phone till 1 am. Sleep or don’t sleep and the cycle continues. But in all of this, I press my phone 24/7 and write in-between. Boring life of a science student🤣
The African Writers: We can relate😄. When did you discover you had a passion for writing?
Derrick: Since the first day I knew how to sharpen a pencil even before I started writing, “How I spent my last holiday.” in primary school. I have been writing for as long as I can remember and that passion didn’t need to be discovered because it was so obvious.
The African Writers: What is your purpose as a writer?
Derrick: My motto is very simple. I write to impact and not to impress.
The African Writers: Apart from writing, what else do you have a passion for?
Derrick: Photography. You see writing and photography are the same things. One tells the story through the lens the other makes use of pens to tell the story. Just tell the story.
The African Writers: If you knew that whatever you wrote will come to pass, what would you write?
Derrick: Hehehehe…🤣 I will write about how I will be chilling with Jesus Christ and the angels. Heaven, at last, I’m done with Nigeria ASAP🤣.
The African Writers: Interesting!😆 Are you a fan of spoken word/performance poetry?
Derrick:  Big fan. Big fan. Askifa hosts a monthly spoken word event I attend and it is so amazing. If you have never loved the spoken word, you will become addicted to it.
The African Writers: That’s cool. Would you rather read the book or watch the movie?
Derrick: Read a book. You see when you place a disk on a book, the movie only tells you about that circular part it covers but it forgets the edges. A movie can never be compared to a book.
The African Writers: True. Do you have any published work (s)?
Derrick: Published work, No. But I’m working on something presently.

The African Writers: Great! How soon should we be on the lookout for your published work (s)?

Derrick: I am going to take my time on this one. I finished a book some years back and was to publish it but I have my reasons for not publishing it but this one will be published. Once I am done with school next year, I will give it my undivided attention because I believe so much in it.
The African Writers:  Awesome. We can’t wait. What advice would you give to writers who aren’t confident about their art?
Derrick: It’s a good thing you are not confident about yourself because you are going to end up getting a job, getting married, having kids, get engrossed with work, watch your kids get married, watch your grandchildren run around and wonder what kind of a world they were born into because all their world will be filled with is stories no one ever wrote. So you will grow old, be dejected, angry, bitter, die full of regrets and an unfulfilled life, then you will go to hell fire 🤣🤣🤣 I’m just joking. But if you are expecting me to beg you or give you a self-esteem boost, you are on your own. Get your ass up and write. It doesn’t matter what people say, just write. Generations to come will bless you.
Did someone say ‘Amen’? Lol. We are sure you enjoyed it as much as we did. Share with others let them enjoy too😉.
Thank you, Derrick, keep shining!