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Sally-Ann Murray

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Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Nnedi Okorafor: Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing

What is your working title of your book?

Lagoon

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I started writing it as a Nollywood screenplay for Nigerian director Tchidi Chikere. I’d recently seen the science fiction film District 9 and I was really angry about how the film had spitefully stereotyped Nigerians. I started asking questions about how Nigerians would really react to aliens and soon I was writing a screenplay. I wanted to write an African science fiction narrative heavily influenced by the high drama of a Nollywood film. The story that came to me wanted to be what it wanted to be and soon it moved away from being any sort of response to District 9. Then it went from being a screenplay to being a novel, and the rest is history…alternative history, in this case, since the story takes place in an alternative version of 2009 Nigeria.

What genre does your book fall under?

Science fiction…I think. Mostly. Yeah. It’s whatever you want it to be.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

There is a pretty big cast of characters in this novel but here are my ideas for the three most central characters:

Agu- Idris Elba
Adaora- Genevieve Nnaji
Anthony Dey Kraze- Kwaw Kese

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Nigerian megacity of Lagos is invaded by aliens, and it nearly consumes itself because of it.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Lagoon will be published by Hodder and Stoughton, a major publishing house based in the UK.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

The first draft took me about a year and a half. However, I wrote it as a screenplay months prior; the screenplay took me three months.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Under the Dome by Stephen King and Wizard of the Crow by Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As I said earlier, my anger at the film District 9 got me wanting to write about aliens in Nigeria. But, also, reading Stephen King’s Under the Dome inspired me to try my hand at writing a narrative that featured many different but interconnected points of view. As I read and enjoyed the novel, I remember thinking that I could never write a story like that. I normally write stories from ONE character’s close point of view. When I realized I was so resistant to changing my ways, I decided that the only way I could evolve was to try writing in multiple points of view.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Of all my novels, this book is my most ambitious. In Lagoon, you’ll find cross-dressers, an absent president, monsters, kidnappers, rogue military men, spiders, religious fanaticism, Nollywood-style hijinks, aliens and much more. Oh yeah, and be ready to learn some Pidgin English.


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